The End of Snow Days

It’s a chilling thought.  An article in the New York Times said it, but we were all thinking it.  Snow days may well have become another victim of Covid-19.  No, it’s not snowing yet (but give climate change a chance!), but New York City schools have figured out that if students can learn from home then one of the truly treasured memories of our youth may no longer be necessary.  In fact, snow days ended for me when I began working remotely.  My supervisor had suggested, even before that, that I take my company laptop home daily, in case of inclement weather.  The idea of awaking, wonder-eyed, at the world covered in white—that cozy feeling of knowing you had no obligations for the day but to enjoy the pristine world out your window—is a thing of the past.

Technology has changed our lives, and some of it is even for the better.  It hasn’t made work easier for some of us, but has made it longer.  We used to talk about kids and their continuous partial attention, but now work is always at home with you and that time signature on your email says something about your work habits.  As the days are now shorter than the nights, as they will be for six more months, finding the time to do what you must outdoors (it may be cooler, but lawns still insist on growing) is always a bit more of a challenge.  And when the snow does fall you’ll still have to shovel the walk.  All time has become company time for a truly linked-in world.

The real victim here, it seems to me, is childhood.  Snow days were a reminder that no matter how strict, how Calvinistic our administrators wanted to be, the weather could still give us a smile now and then.  A legitimate excuse not to have to go to school and, if parents couldn’t get you to daycare, a day off for everyone.  The strict number of limited holidays allotted by HR had limited power in those days.  Although we all know that well-rested, happy workers tend to do better jobs than those who are constantly stressed out and who have trouble sleeping, we’ve now got the means to make the sameness of pandemic life the ennui of everyday life, in saecula saeculorum.  Thanks, internet.  At least now we work where we have a window and can look out on nature and can see what we’re missing.

2 thoughts on “The End of Snow Days

  1. Hi Steve,

    Here in Montreal, parents who have become teachers for their kids, often say that, there are times when Words, Lessons, and the Computer just stops working for them, and they have to concede defeat, turn off the computer, and take another tack. Some parents opt for board games, others, let the kids run amok in the yard or around the neighborhood, ( socially distanced ) I might add.

    Hubby works from home, as has worked from home for over a year now. He cannot sit in front of that screen for 8 to 10 hours a day, umbilically connected to his business all day long. As an independent contractor he sets his own hours, and works as he is able. (mental illness does that to you) He naps when necessary and fucks off when he needs to. He rises at ungodly hours like you do, so he’s up at 3 am to work, does a few hours, comes back to bed, and repeats the cycle throughout the day, until dinner time around 8:30 when he cooks dinner.

    Employers who believe they need to tether you to your lap top, and expect you to be productive for 8 to 10 hours a day, without breathing or a break, are far too presumptuous of our abilities. If they don’t give a little, sometimes we have to say, “Alright, I’ve had enough for now” (come Winter) I’m going outside to shovel or snow angel or sled or skate for an hour, “I’LL BE BACK!”

    I cannot sit in front of this box all day long either. I do what I need to do and I shut it off until I need to make another pass at my computer screen. I’d go nuts if I had to sit here and pound out work all god damned day long…

    I think you gotta grow some and say, once in a while “Fuck It” I’m gonna go throw some snow balls. I’m not an automaton. I need a mental health hour for myself right about now. It’s ok to say, “Alright I’ve had enough now. Taking a break. See you in a bit Master Chariot Driver !!”

    Metal health is an issue for everyone, you are not immune either. If you don’t take care of your mental health on a daily basis, you are going to turn into a mushroom, being fed shit all damn day long. i don’t think you want that either do you?

    Just saying



    • Thanks, Jeremy. Those exact thoughts have been besieging with some regularity these days. I believe you are right, but my vision of the future is blurred, perhaps by falling snow.

      Thanks for the thoughts!


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