Monday, December 05, 2005
Of Sled Dogs and Snowflakes...
Listen, in a city where people take themselves as seriously as they do here—the snow day is mammoth. This is a company town and the company is the gummint. You either work for the gummint or you feed off it like a parasite, as I do. That’s called being a “consultant.” We don’t like the word “contractor,” so save that for your dishwasher installer.
Anyway, this town is so straight-laced, wonky and gooby that the ONLY fun we really truly have is our addiction to freaking out about snow. It’s like living on the North Pole—everyone’s a believer. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E freaks out, talks about it incessantly, buys too much toilet paper/milk/snow shovels/frozen pizza and then waits for the gummint to close—please oh please. Parents PRAY that school will be closed. Oh they PRETEND to be irritated and there is frequent mention of “I grew up in Buffalo/Minneapolis/Nova Scotia/Alaska…” But the real inside dirty secret is, WE LOVE OUR WEENIE SNOW STATUS!!! Because it is the only time goofing off is sanctioned.
In DC when it snows it is “snow” of course, not the real SNOW of the northern steppes. No, our “snow” is precious! A wee dusting and the Gov closes and everyone starts driving VERY BADLY, (not to be confused with Every Day Bad), and MONTGOMERY COUNTY public schools basically close for the entire winter. Give or take. Which is GREAT because I live in…Montgomery County! Of course Catholic schools answer to a higher authority, but they often go the way of the county schools.
Talk of snow naturally leads me to Sled Dog, or Chien de Sled, a lemony bitch I used to work with who accused me (imagine!) of using my kids’ snow days as a way of intentionally missing work! She would get progressively huffy if I was late or if I--GOD FORBID--called in to say my kids’ daycare/school was closed or something. Yeah, imagine my nerve.
Sled Dog, who was unmarried and did not have children (quel surpris, mais non) would get up early AND WATCH THE SCHOOL CLOSINGS to see if I was telling the truth. True story. Clearly, she was not with the DC program. Hmm, that reminds me. I’ll have to write about Sled Dog one day. You’ll love hearing about her. Because who doesn’t have a bitter, sad, resentful, little twerp lurking in the shadows? Hmmm? The little troll with no make-up who sits like a hunched turtle at her computer monitoring when everyone comes in to work and when they leave and how long they take for lunch. People like that make me want to HURL. She was the kind of person who would say, “I am going to skip lunch today because I’m going out for dinner tonight.” You do that.
See the problem is, people like that think that there is a logical grid to the cosmos and that they can reapportion time, space, calories and snowflakes into a fusion of centered complicity. They think they can CONTROL the universe. My beef (or boeuf) with people like this (it is an archetype) is that they think there is an invisible balance, level or gauge somewhere in the planetary web that weighs all of our contributions on a big fat scale somewhere. Hence, the resentment. In their petty, vengeful minds, Other People are somehow scamming the universe, chalking up endless hours of fun and laziness and contentment while they, the worker drone bees, are keeping the planets aligned with their selfless commitment to toting that bale. You know it's true.
ANYWAY, we all love our “snow” days BECAUSE we love our prized little time-honored excuse to go SLEDDING somewhere really picturesque in DC, like Battery Kemble, with our kids, so we can relive the slushy, wet butt fun of careening down a hill toward a tree screaming our lungs out. We “pretend” to think it’s all “ridiculous” but we all enable one another. The weathermen start manning the SNOW EMERGENCY HEADQUARTERS, the grocery stores start hiding the milk to create a frenzy, the Washington Post starts camping out at Battery Kemble to photograph the patented yearly saucer flying over a bump, and Pop Tarts become scarcer than hen’s teeth.
And Sled Dog, who now lives in Alaska, because she doesn’t like snow and sold her condominium waaaaaaaaaaaaay before the DC housing bubble even thought about popping, is probably sitting in an igloo somewhere missing the winter rite of passage here in DC. She probably had to hire a pack of Iditarod dogs to hoof it to work, while we all "bite our nails" in anticipation of the wintry “deluge.”
My office is ordering pizza for all of us (which is the nicest thing I have heard of, honestly). In case we have to leave early. And, so far, not a flake has fallen. |
Cynicism is another word for reality