I think often about my childhood. I think about the things I did and no longer do, or the things I had and can no longer have. And whenever winter storms blow in, I think about snow days.
As a child there was no greater lottery than getting a snow day. The sheer chance that school would be closed because there was too much awesomeness outside seemed almost unfathomable.
We had a bunch of snow last week in New York and I got something that is as rare as the white whale, an adult snow day. My company has a rule that we must close when New York City schools close. Last Monday my work was closed due to snow.
What follows is a step by step recount of how a typical snow day went as a child and how it did for me last week as an “adult.”
Child: Wake up at 6 am and run to the window to see the snow. Run to the TV to find out if schools are closed. Wait in anxious anticipation. Turn on radio and listen to school closings while watching the ticker on the bottom of the news. Witness my district on the TV as one that’s closing. Jump for joy and celebrate by running around the house and gathering up all snow gear for day of playing in the snow.
Adult: Wake up normal time. See text message announcing work is closed. Text back, “really?” Celebrate by immediately closing eyes and going back to sleep.
Child: Spend 45 minutes putting on long johns, shirts, sweatpants, 2 pairs of socks, snow boots, jacket, gloves, scarf, and hat. Zip everything up closed and tight. Get ready to spend several hours jumping and frolicking in the snow. Realize I have to pee.
Adult: Spend 45 minutes trying to go back to sleep but curse the irony that on my day off I can’t fall back to sleep like I do every other working day. Walk around apartment in boxers and lay down on the couch. Get comfortable and ready to spend several hours not moving. Realize I have to pee.
Child: Run outside and start shoveling the walk into a huge pile on the lawn. Eat entire handfuls of fresh snow. Finish shoveling and immediately jump head first into the pile of snow. Lay there for 20 minutes making snow angels.
Adult: Excited to eat breakfast but too lazy to make something; lay on couch eating entire handfuls of dry cheerios. Go back to bed and dive headfirst into my pillow. Lay there for 20 minutes making bed angels.
Child: Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at trees. Build a fort. Throw more snowballs. Tackle snowman. Build a better snowman. Completely destroy all snow in front yard.
Adult: Wake up 2 hours later. Go back and sit on the couch. Do nothing.
Child: Come inside around noon because I am hungry and have to pee. Strip off 7 layers of snow clothing and realize under it all I am drenched in sweat. Go pee. Sit at the kitchen table where mom has prepared me a most delicious hearty meal of hot soup and grilled cheese.
Adult: Realize I have to pee. Sniff self and realize I stink. Contemplate eating. Think about the simplest possible meal I can make. Pour pre-made soup into bowl and microwave. Put cheese between 2 slices of bread and fry. Eat while lying on the couch.
Child: Redress in snow clothing, boots, coat, jacket, hat, gloves, socks, scarf, zip, zip, zip. Go outside with sled. Walk like a yeti to the park to join all the other kids sledding down the big hill.
Adult: Lay on couch. Watch progressively worse television. Do nothing.
Child: Sled down the hill, run up the hill, sled down the hill, run up the hill. Try to stand on sled while going down the hill. Fall on head. Pretend not to be hurt. Walk around dizzy for 10 minutes.
Adult: Lay on couch. Do nothing.
Child: Trek home from sledding around sunset. Put all clothes in dryer. Have cookies and milk. Run into the living room and plop down on the couch exhausted. Watch afternoon cartoons and finish your day.
Adult: Stuff half a Toblerone bar in my face. Chew while horizontal. Contemplate the meaning of the words “Saturated fat.” Look outside and notice it is getting dark. Decide to shower. Turn off TV and start my day.