There are number of days that are good days to be at work, like monthly birthday cake day, the last day of classes, and any day that there’s free lunch*. But I’d have to say that one of my favorite work days has got to be the working snow day.
As most people who have had a job longer than five minutes during the winter know, snowyish days tend to be awesome breaks from the grind, even when work is wide open for business. Something about white precipitation (or really, anything that freezes) coupled with the fact that any place (or someone’s child’s school) is closed makes things around the office quieter, more relaxed, and sort of nice.
Back in the day (when I was 22), I had a real people job in Manhattan. And while it was a good job, something that I could have done for years and definitely a situation that a number of my peers dreamed about, for reasons related to my interests and inclinations at 22, it wasn’t for me. I spent the year losing weight, learning the full extent of my stress-related stomach issues, and nervously eating boxes of Good & Plenty on the platform in Newark Penn Station while I waited for my train home. But in spite of all that, arguably the best day I had at work was the day it snowed. I had no reason to call out for snow — I took the train to work in Manhattan** — and neither did most of the people I worked with. So, the office was more or less full. But it was quiet. Clients didn’t call***. I spent the day as a relatively stress-free young business person, cranking out PowerPoint slides and feeling useful. For a brief moment, saw a future for myself in that office. Because snow has magic that makes the phone stop ringing.
So, on days like today, when there’s snow on the ground covered by freezing rain, I don’t think to myself, “Yes! Working from home! Let me stay in my pjs!” Aside from my objection to wearing pants with an elastic waistband during the day (yes, that’s a thing for me), when I look out the window and see terrible weather, all I can think about is how soon I can get to the office. Because shit’s about to get done.
This is one of many things that’s great about living alone. While some things stink big time — like that minor debacle when I thought I broke my foot in the spring and the fact that no one else is going to start dinner — sometimes the lack of another person who can voice an opinion over road conditions, safety, and general sanity makes forging ahead with my own questionable plans much easier. And today was a great day at the office. Even though it was the second day of the semester (which means that some people were having their first class meetings), a number of people canceled class instead of venturing out on the roads. We didn’t even turn on all the lights in the building. My office turned into a cozy, warm, working collective. Since neither I nor my officemates taught today, we chilled out, read, occasionally spoke, wrote, and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which, when you think about it, is a pretty excellent way to spend the day.
It almost makes the fact that it’s only Tuesday bearable.
* I’m a particular fan of free lunch day when it involves a deli platter. But the deli platter has disappeared from the rotation as the university’s catering fees have become astronomical. Jerks.
** What this means is that nothing short of the apocalypse would have been a legitimate excuse. Even the blackout of 2003 that shut down the east coast didn’t stop mass transit into and out of the city (with the exception of the electric trains that go through the tunnels, of course). While I wasn’t working at the time, one of my friends who I commuted with told me that she couldn’t confirm that she didn’t have work when there was no power, so she made an effort to get there. And she did. After exploring her options, she wisely chose to go by boat (via the ferry at Weehawken).
*** Which was a merciful gift from the universe. At the time, I was dealing with a particularly difficult client. Managing his account was an office rite of passage and I was circling the drain. The secretaries were starting to worry about me.