Perhaps you heard - Much of the East Coast was buried in snow the last week in January. We're talking feet - up to three in some cases - of snow, worthy of a Buffalo blizzard.
Except, of course, that we here in the DC area approach anything more than a dusting of the white stuff as a disaster akin to nuclear war - and behave accordingly.
First, my school district did the sensible thing, and closed school the day before the storm. With no precipitation in sight, we squandered one of our precious "snow days" - to help us all get ready for the impending onslaught, I presume. DC-ites reacted in typical fashion, raiding all grocery store shelves of everything resembling toilet paper and bottled water.
A side note, if I may: The entire populace of the Washington Metropolitan area descends on neighborhood stores en masse in advance of any impending inclement weather. I've never been able to figure out why toilet paper and bottled water - not necessarily in that order - are so in demand. Well, except maybe residents need all that toilet paper after drinking copious amounts of bottled water. It's a real head-scratcher, to be sure.
Once we were thusly provisioned, all 6, 033, 737 million of us in the DMV - which stands for the District, Maryland and Virginia, natch - hunkered down to wait. School districts closed on Friday, as well, since, well, all that snow was imminent. A few flakes fluttered to the ground around mid-morning or so. Mother Nature started throwing her entire toolbox at us around 3.
Listen, I'm not going to be one of those who ridicules my adopted home for its predictable failures in dealing with snow. I'm from Dallas, Texas - my idea scraping my windshield during infrequent ice storms was to take a few passes on the left-hand side with my Visa card, thus carving out a small circle with which to view a storm-ravaged world.
And Mr. Fairway, who hails from much heartier Northwestern Wisconsin, has remarked over the years that the only reason his hometown could handle the snow every year was because there were more cows than people in residence. It's a lot easier to plow the roads if you're only talking about a handful of cars out and about, and you're well-equipped with snow-removal equipment - neither of which is the case in Washington.
So, it snowed. And it snowed. And then snowed some more. I dare say Mr. Fairway and his brethren from the Upper Midwest had themselves never seen such snow. And for once, our meteorological friends at Channels 4, 5, 7 and 9 were correct - La Familia Scribe measured 28 inches out back, and blackish, ice-encrusted snow mounds are still in abundance all these weeks later.
Long story short? We enjoyed a second Winter Break of sorts. School closed for seven days in a row. Coupled with the weekend that was wedged in there and that's nine days at home, inside, surrounded by the white stuff.
Being a Texas gal, I'd never really experienced so-called "cabin fever." I'm here to tell y'all, though, that it's real, as the snap above emphasizes. A lot of my students found ways to shake off the willy-nillys from being trapped inside and get out and do something different. Speaking for myself, though, all those days inside didn't make me more productive. I just found more creative ways to avoid grading all those papers.