Break lights against snow, a fairytale


You graduated from college in June and you’ve been working hard for a number of months.  You’ve finally started to settle in.  Even the crazy lady in marketing has stopped talking to you like you were a puppy dog (“Aw, look at him try to put paper in the copy machine the wrong way.”).  This is your first full year of working.  Of dominating!  Then you see it.  You rub your eyes thinking you’ve been looking at spreadsheets too long, but you heard things too.  You tried to ignore it, but pretty soon it was the talk around the office – snowstorm on its way.  “Snow? C’mon, I grew up in Massachusetts.  I eat snow for dinner!  I will leave fifteen minutes early and I’ll be fine.”

Snow in college, if you lived on campus, was delightful.  You woke up late thinking “I’m not going to class.”  Since everyone else was thinking the same thing, class magically got cancelled.  Voila!  You killed hours playing Madden and watching the maintenance guys scramble to plow the place out.  Then you took a nap.  Then you went outside, stuck some beers in the snow and lived it up.  You were throwing snowballs at each other.  You were throwing snowballs at the girl you liked as she walked by.  You were accepting dirty looks from a girl who had a jacket that looked a lot like the one that girl you liked had.  “Sorry, didn’t mean to hit you with a snowball even though I kinda did.”  It’s like one of those old cigarette advertisements where everybody’s a little bit too happy looking for reality.

Growing up in New England we learned to deal with the snow, to be one with the snow.  It was so nice to know there was no school.  There were snow days that were better than some Christmases.  A wave of rumor gushed around school that we were gonna get hit big.  When it was a no doubter your parents might have even let you stay up late the night before.  You awoke and everything was quiet.  These days schools email or tell parents the night before if there is going to be no school.  We didn’t have that.  We had Harvey Leonard and Bruce Schwoegler, the Lords of the Snow Day Dance.  You walked into the light of the living room and the proof came scrolling across the screen.  Then your parents told you to get outside and shovel thus killing your high, but the point is there was no school for there was only snow.

All you own now, bitch, is a shovel and a job.  I wrote a haiku in honor of the snow today.

Snow glides singing soft
Two hours on roads that bite
Break lights, my blood glows

It’s a feeling of despair for the future when you spend over two hours navigating backroads and highways through the snow only to find you’re one of the first at the office.  You think about how four inches of snow; white, happy snow that they write carols about, wrung every bit of energy out of you.  What was it all for and what would six inches be capable of?  Why are there so few people in the office?  Did they cancel work?  No, your snow days are gone, pal.  It’s like a hidden payroll tax, withholding any joy that was once associated with the falling snow.  There’s a short line for coffee for once.  You’ll need it to listen to the harrowing tales of sliding down 495 and 128.  You’ll need it to drip courage into your veins for the gruesome ride home.  Just don’t drink too much, pal.  You may have to hold it for a good three hours as Massachusetts reconstructs its roadways in the red glare of break lights.


Does this sound familiar? What do you think?

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