There is something to be said for the rush of exhilaration that courses through the body of a young person faced with the possibility of a snow day. That same exhilaration has the power to overwhelm adults on occasion, if they are not in control of their emotions and/or their sensory functions.
You would think that having lived the majority of life in middle Tennessee would dampen my spirits to the possibility of a snow day. I remember praying to the snow gods above to pour out their blessings upon the earth to get me out of school… specifically if there was a test looming on my horizon. It never failed to work against me. If I studied and crammed for the test, we would not go to school. If I slacked off, we got not one flake of snow. The snow gods hated me as a child.
The snow gods, as a matter of fact, apparently hate middle Tennessee in general, as they have not visited our area in some time. (I am certain that Al Gore has a scientific reason for this… but I digress)
The snow gods do get a pretty good chuckle out of the actions of middle Tennesseans faced with inclement weather. If the words “snow”, “sleet”, or “frozen precipitation” are even vaguely mentioned on local newscasts, the Volunteers set out en masse to the nearest grocery store to “stock up” on supplies that will allow them to brave the fiercest of storms. You will not find a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, or a roll of toilet paper in the city. National Guard troops will have to drop load from C130 aircraft in order for Nashvillians to endure the first 24 hours of snowfall. The local television stations will suffer the elements to broadcast in front of the local Kroger whilst mass hysteria erupts behind them.
And the snow gods laugh quietly to themselves.
As an adult, snow days held less ability to affect my personal life. I was raised by a military father who, when faced with even the remotest possibility of a snow day, set his alarm for three hours before he normally awoke in order to examine the state of the road conditions. If there was snow, he dressed quickly and got on the road before the rest of mankind had a chance to awaken and bring the greater Nashville area to a standstill. His little Chevy hatchback never missed a beat, and my father never missed work. I learned that missing work on a snow day for a Bell just was not acceptable. I either caught a ride with my father at the crack of dawn, or I followed in my own car at the same time.
My dad also had about 15 different snow routes he could take to work. These were less traveled roads where his little front wheel drive would not encounter traction issues. As I think back on this, it is probably why I have a good five or six different ways to get to work myself. I am always prepared to make a detour if an accident shuts down the roadways.
My dad is retired now and does not have to watch news reports or set an alarm clock. I am not retired. I am my father’s daughter. There was a possibility of a snow day just this morning.
My alarm went off early (5:00 am) and I pushed the power button on my remote to turn on the television. I gazed through bleary sleep-crusted eyes at the local weatherman and the map behind him. It was a map of the school closings in the area. The map was all the same color. Oh My Goodness! All the schools were closed! The exhilaration kicked in as I jumped from the bed and quickly dressed. I have a toothbrush and paste at my office, so I will simply brush my teeth when I get there. A couple of quick swipes of deodorant and I was out the door.
The roads were not slick yet, but it was only a matter of time. The temperatures were dropping and the rain was pouring down. I quickly arrived at my office (one hour before my normal arrival time) so that I could answer the phones in the event that my boss was trapped by the weather and could not make his appointments.
I waited by the phone. I manned my desk. I breathed deeply in and out. I logged onto the internet to check the school closing listing for further updates and my brain finally kicked in.
The weather map was all one color because none of the school systems were closing for rain.
The snow gods are still laughing at me.