Once again, it’s winter in New England, and storm season is here.  I find the snow day a strange and unique phenomenon. From inside my home, I look out at the snow falling, but there’s no sound to it, so it seems to be taking place at a great distance, in another world.  It seems unreal.  Meanwhile, normal life is suspended–everything is closed for the duration so I’m deprived of my semi-automatic routine of activities.  I feel disconnected from reality as I know it.  It’s an existential experience.  It’s occurred to me that the low air pressure may trigger the depressive reaction a lot of us have to winter, contributing to this feeling of detachment.  This may be the human equivalent of hibernation, in which physiological slow-down causes the animal to go into a coma-like state.

Of course, the minute I tune in to the local news, I enter a whole different realm.  The anchor and reporting teams excitedly reach out to me through one monologue after another, detailing the goings-on of nature and humanity all over the state.  The lively atmosphere in the studio is clearly fueled by an excess of caffeine which they’ve consumed in order to stay on the job round the clock and exploit the event to the fullest.

And what is it with SANDWICH??!  Suddenly this insignificant Cape town fascinates them.  I mean, what percentage of the population lives in Sandwich?  Why do we care about it?  Slowly I realize that their obsession stems from the fact that it’s at risk for coastal flooding, which makes for a more gripping news story than they’d have if they focused on an inland suburb, like Norwood or Brookline or Newton:  “Say, there’s a doozy of a snowdrift over on Chestnut Street! Take a look at that!”

Instead, I am repeatedly shown pictures of 3 houses in Sandwich whose bird-brained owners didn’t have the sense to elevate them out of danger.  Do these losers really deserve our attention?

All day, I am informed that disaster is imminent at high tide, which, conveniently, will happen hours from now–but can’t be pinned down exactly–meaning that if I keep watching faithfully, I’m assured a show-stopping climax to the situation.

It requires more than that to snap me out of my snow day funk.  Besides, tomorrow’s commute will provide me with enough drama and challenge–I’ll save my powers of observation for that.

On the upside, the day after a storm, everyone in the office appears in casual dress.  This provides a refreshing relief from the usual caste system and the outfits that mark status, from the manager’s power suit to the assistant’s jeggings.  You get to see what your boss looks like when she is freed from her duty of dressing in a superior manner–although that just makes it all the more incongruous when she continues to address you with the same authority while dressed like a teenager.

In a few days, all will be back to normal.  If I’m lucky, the storm will rank as a “Top 5” and I’ll be able to share the general, misguided sense of heroism at having “survived” this one, albeit in a questionable state of consciousness.
Shut In During The March 13 Boston Blizzard: was last modified: by

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