How I Spend a Snow Day

Streets on a Snow Day
Is that slush on the corner?! There will be no school on this day! No school ever!

Because we spend so much time together, I know what you’re thinking. Mr. McAteer, how do you spend a snow day?

My first thought upon hearing the message (asterisk asterisk asterisk) was that my wardrobe plans for the week are shot. I had my Wednesday clothes out and knew my Thursday outfit as well. What do I do tomorrow?! Wear a Wednesday outfit on Thursday?! Preposterous! This could take a while. Postpone that thought and go back to sleep.

Fail to sleep because I’m thinking about reshaping plans that some might consider more important than wardrobe plans.

Walk downstairs, look out the window, see the grass poking through the spotty blanket of snow and immediately begin censoring my thoughts. A snow day?! A f-ing snow day! Continue in that profane pattern for a while before challenging my reaction. Well, maybe it’s worse in New Canaan; after all, it is in New England, and White Plains, while only twenty minutes away, is one of the more temperate mid-Atlantic states.

Wrap myself up like a Charlie Brown character to go outside and shovel the walk and driveway. As I begin, recognize that it is a bit slippery. Then, because the mind of man is capable of anything, because everything is in it, an epiphany, as if Newton’s freakin’ apple beaned me in, of all places, the head.

Be careful.

I am stunned. I must let the world know this divine intelligence I have received. Be careful. What if everyone knew that when it’s a bit slippery out, they should be careful. Then, we could, with the confidence of kings, dare to brave the elements that keep us isolated from one another. We could, conceivably, safely reach the campus of New Canaan High School within 90 minutes of our departure from home.

But alas, I had no cell phone with me. There would be no tweeting of this blinding flash of insight that I alone was privy to. The world would never know what I knew. And I was sad.

What to do but continue shoveling (Every day I’m shovelin’). As I shoveled, I thought of you, my students, studying with your notecards for tests you wouldn’t have today, and I wondered, do my students ever have notecards for my class out when they’re in their other classes? Do they wake up and say, I have an English paper, but in math class I can study up on contexts, recognizing patterns, and the function of clauses in a two-clause sentence to control literary analysis? And I contented myself with yes, of course they do. ‘Twould be silly to think otherwise.

Then I beat myself up for thinking such uncharitable thoughts. You’re no Alyosha, you mean man.

Yeah, well Alyosha is just a big enabler.

Is not.

At this point, I snicker, knowing that if we were all in my driveway with shovels in our hands, we’d be shooting knowing glances at each other, silently saying, yeah, free indirect narration. A-ight.

After that, it’s pretty much a blur of finishing the shoveling, clearing off the cars, getting the kids off to school (like I said, we live in a temperate mid-Atlantic state), and coming inside to write this instead of finishing the grading I have to finish, enraged that I left two folders at school because it never occurred to me that we’d have a snow day when we weren’t even having a storm.

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