Snow Day

It snowed the day before Valentine’s Day.

There is something about the possibility of snow that often drives A. and me to seek refuge in our friends’ house in Fells Point. When A. and I stay over, we get the third floor to ourselves (except for the ancient cat confined for hygienic reasons to a large cage there) and in general feel so comfortable and somehow pampered that we have taken to calling the place “the bed and breakfast.” The house is a narrow maze of nooks and corners and landings and tiny attic windows that give onto views of gables and rooftop decks, one of the better landscapes for watching snow pile up and feeling glad that you’re not out in it.

The evening began with a quick hour’s meeting with our accountant — everyone in the office asking “how are the roads?” when we walked in — and then A. and I met up with our friends and walked to the Waterfront on Thames Street, where we secured a booth and enjoyed the $10 entrees special and quite a lot of Jack Daniels. After a while, we had the place almost to ourselves and moved to the back room near the fire for a few games of pool. There was a little more whiskey.

On our way home, we dropped in on the Full Moon Saloon, where Uncle Dave Huber was channeling Bob Dylan for the bartender and one customer, who turned out be second on the playbill, which might explain why he was clapping so loudly for Dave (nothing against Dave, though).

It was the kind of night after which a snow day would be particularly welcome. My company officially follows the city schools’ lead on such matters; unofficially, of course, one risks looking like a weakling for taking every possible day off that this would theoretically provide. Waking at 6 a.m. with a bit of a headache, I could see from the attic windows that a few inches of snow had accumulated since the night before, but the important question was how bad the main streets were. A few hours later, I walked to Burger King, hungry at a kind of existential level for a fast-food breakfast sandwich. Eastern Avenue was slushy but apparently passable by a light but steady stream of traffic.

Returning with sandwiches, I found everyone else up and wrestling with varying aspects of the relationship between the weather and having to go to work. E. wondered if there were any way she could get out of nannying that day; A. called work and learned that she had a delayed opening, which eventually was updated to a complete cancellation. I wondered what to do. Go in and pick up work to complete at home? Just take the city schools’ cancellation as a blank pass? As it turned out, we did stop by my office on the way home, only to find no one there, and I decided to take a snow day myself.

I felt guilty; was I setting the right example for my supervisees? After a while, I was able to relax, but it would have been a much nicer day, all around, if I hadn’t waited until 5 p.m. to check my cell-phone messages. My boss had called at 7:30 a.m. to make it official: the office was closed.