New Orleans has declared it a "snow day." What this really means is that New Orleans hasn't heard about salt. But no matter. I am inside, listening to it "snow," thinking about actual snow, and actual snow days, like all the other people here who are not from here and are reminiscing about the exact same thing.
Granted, Portland doesn't have lots of actual snow days, either. There is a whole YouTube channel of Oregonians driving around in ice. Spoiler alert: it's not videos of awesome, Evel Knievel-types of stunts in extreme weather. We just crash. We crash and crash and crash and it doesn't stop being funny to watch on video.
But when I was younger, there were a few snow days like on television at Christmastime -- you know, with the fluffy snow that you want to eat, and everyone makes tall snowmen with improbable stick-arms. My mother had a pair of skis in the garage for days when it would snow. She'd strap them on and then go out into the road and go down the hill. That was the beginning and the end of her skiing adventure, every time. "Burlingame Avenue needs a chairlift," she would say. I'm glad no one ever put my mother in charge of tax dollar spending. Actually, on second thought, a chairlift on Burlingame Avenue would probably be better than most of what American tax dollars are actually spent on.
I spent all my childhood snow days with Joe, who I was sure I was going to marry, and who was also very gay. (He probably knew starting at the age of five. I probably should have known starting at the age of five, too, but I watched way too many heteronormative rom-coms.) The snow would fall, school would be canceled, and without even having to call we would trek to the midway point between our houses. The best thing to do on snow days was to go to the ice cream shop and get ice cream. No one was ever there, and they turned the heat up really high, so it was like being in your own private palace, where all there was was ice cream. (If I had my own private palace, even to this day, it would essentially be a Baskin Robbins. Because, obviously.)
Doesn't that all sound nice? It does. It makes you want to transport yourself to a little town covered in inches of bright white snow so you can laugh and stomp and do snow angels under pristine pine trees. You want hot chocolate, don't you? And, like, a warm cookie. And, like, five warm cookies.
But it wasn't that great, actually. Snow days aren't that great. They're OK, sure. But they are also inconveniently cold, and you have to turn the heat on loud, and you are stuck with the same three people for at least 24 hours, which can feel interminable. It's interesting how people romanticize things like snow, or sun, or summer thunderstorms.
I'm not saying these things are bad. I'm saying that when you're inside a moment, you still want more, and you still wish things were different.
Like, today, I am thinking about how I wish I was at work. I know that sounds nuts, but my brain is telling me that I miss the children, and I miss having a task to do, and I desire to be running around on my bike. It is not lost on me, mind you, that if I had to go to work, I would be wishing it was a snow day.
I'm trying, against my will, to let go of the part of me that always wants everything to be different. I wish I had enjoyed the snow days in Portland more, because after all, the global climate has basically shut the door on them for the rest of time. No one ever tells you that it is hard to enjoy moments. They tell you to enjoy them, but they don't tell you it's hard. It's easy to look back at moments and wish you had enjoyed them more. It's hard to enjoy them while they are here.
It's cold, and there is ice on the ground, which is a novelty in the south. People are bundled up. I can't be in my house, because it's too cold (we have no heat at all, and no insulation), so I'm getting to have slumber parties -- watching documentaries and eating nachos. There's heat on and I'm writing into the black hole of the Internet. Outside, there are chickens and cats all balled up like rolls of socks, probably thinking, "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS." And so, instead of throwing salt on the ground and rolling my eyes, wishing I was seven in a snow globe in Portland, I'll just stay here, and feel the warm joy that will sink in if I only let it.