Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I haven't written in a while, and now more than ever I have no excuse for that fact. For last week I was not, as I am now, subsumed in school work, handling back-to-back interviews for newspaper or magazine articles, and searching for relevant internships I could work during the summer.
For most of the week, in fact, I sat on my butt and ate.
I was in production (the process whereby a periodical integrates its pieces, photographic and written, into a coherent format for publication) at Student Newspaper on Friday, February 5th, when heavy snow began to fall over campus.
"Persian Girl," I said, eyeing the accumulating dust with trepidation. "I need to get out of here as soon as possible."
Persian Girl, in addition to being the news editor at Student Newspaper and thus my immediate superior (I became assistant news editor at the start of the spring semester), is one of my closest friends.
"Well, I need to go home, too," she said, her attention turned to the window through which we could see the fantastic downpour of flakes spiraling through the sky as if spit from the mouth of some furious Arctic creature. "And if you leave there's going to be more for me to do and I'll be here until five o'clock."
I cast a glimpse at the rush of white that was checkering the sky ivory and iron, at the gentle petals of frost already beginning to pile up on the walkway outside where students were pushing one another and shrieking with laughter. I had an hour-and-a-half drive home.
I looked her dead in the face.
"Give me the articles you need edited," I said. "I'll do it all right now."
I flew through the work assigned me, dispensing with spelling, grammar, punctuation, and AP errors before grabbing the packed bag I'd brought the office and heading out on roads covered in light snow as powder continued to rain down.
By the time I got home around three o'clock, not much had stuck, but it came pounding down with greater intensity as darkness fell.
We spent the night, Beautiful Cousin, Thomas, Pie, my parents, our dogs, and I, bundled up against the cold and swirling snow that turned the black sky into a crumbling structure, each flake a piece of cracked glass falling from the disintegrating behemoth.
The next morning, Saturday, the storm hadn't even paused to think about stopping, and in fact only gathered strength throughout the day to strike us all the harder. By early Sunday, at which point the snow had finally ceased, our world was a soft landscape of white plains and rolling crystalline hills, interrupted only by the sweep of wind that blew grains across the desolate desert.
To my utter astonishment, Major University was closed on Monday, the first time in my postsecondary career that the institution had shut its doors during the regular term. So staunch is school's aversion to canceling class that it has in the past remained open despite unploughed roads, a stance that nearly resulted in my having a car accident during the 2008-2009 school year.
While I was happy with getting out of my sessions, the unexpected development led to some issues; I'd only planned on being home for three days, and had packed accordingly. I started raiding my father's sock drawer and the closet where I keep everything too ugly to wear on campus as another system began to move in our direction.
Before it came, though, we had to dig out from its sister, and that was quite a task.
The roads were impassable, the neighborhood locked off from the rest of the town by ice, and the yard covered in nearly three feet of snow. We gave up quickly on the idea of shoveling everything and instead opted for strategic areas, such as the space immediately surrounding my mother's car (not that she was going out), the vulnerable cover of the hot tub, a path on the back deck where our three small Dachshunds could go to use the bathroom, and the air conditioning unit on the side of the house, which was completely submerged before we freed it up so the heat wouldn't go out.
Major University remained closed on Tuesday, greatly surprising me, and by Wednesday a second storm was bearing down on us. This one wasn't nearly as large; it only left us with about six inches, but on top of the giant, as still yet to be recovered from, that had gone before it, it constituted a major problem. By Thursday afternoon, our cul-de-sac was even more thoroughly snowbound than it had been before, and nothing, including my car, was going anywhere.
Major University didn't open its doors for the remainder of the week, and no one could have gone in anyway, so my intended three-day weekend turned into a ten-day vacation during the course of which the members of my household ate popcorn, baked brownies, consumed plates of spaghetti, watched endless movies, and played so many games of Monopoly that even I, the diehard fan (and, I might add, consistent champion), began to grow weary of it. One night we brought over Black Boy and Younger Neighbor, the eighteen and seventeen-year-old brothers from next door, just to spice things up.
It was a nice break from the pressures of school and the newspaper, and from other things that will have to be detailed in another post. The fact is, no matter how well things are going outside of home, no matter how much fun I'm having or how many friends I've made, once I get there I never really want to leave. I'm glad when I do, of course, as life must be lived beyond that sphere, and my efforts at doing that, though frightening and sometimes hurtful, have been very rewarding. Still, it was nice to have an ironclad reason to stay in my house for more than a week.
They say El Nino is behind the recent spate of snow we've gotten, which this winter has been far more frequent and heavy than is normal for our region. I hope that the global cooling theories are right, though; this is what winter should be, and I hate to think that next year it could all go away.