So I live in New England. Massachusetts, to be exact. And if you haven’t heard, we’ve got a little bit of snow up here.
Boston has seen 95.7 inches of snow this winter. But what’s really amazing is 90 inches has fallen in the last three weeks. I repeat, more than 7 feet of snow has pummeled us in the last 21 DAYS! Granted, we’re used to snow up here. But this? This is a lot. This is record-breaking. And understandably, this region is quickly reaching its collective breaking point.
In my town, school was canceled an unprecedented six times. It’s more in other places. Not only does that mean parents have to stay home from work to take care of their kids, it also means Massachusetts students could be watching July 4 fireworks from inside a classroom.
Also, the snow has made driving a nightmare. Lucky for the citizens of greater Boston there’s public transportation, right? Wrong. The MBTA (or the T as locals call it) is in shambles, its failing infrastructure put on display by the metric ton of snow that’s fallen. Trains are canceled on nearly every line, and the best estimate is at least 30 days to get back to normal (barring any additional snowstorms).
Lack of parking, property damage, canceled flights — you name it, we’re experiencing it. And we’re sick of it.
But instead of complaining, I’m going to put on my optimist hat and play devil’s advocate. I’m going to find the silver lining of the white blanket covering my beloved homeland. Starting with these seven things.
7. SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
They say when you’re going through a rough time you need to fixate on something good. Something you can look forward to. I had a package delivered to my front door prior to the late January storm that dropped the first 2 feet of snow on us, but I forgot it on my front steps and now it’s buried under 7-foot snow drifts. I have no idea what it is, but when the snow melts in August I’m going to be SUPER excited to see what’s in there!
6. WAXING PHILOSOPHICAL
I took a philosophy class in college and liked it. Unfortunately I haven’t had much of an opportunity to engage in deep thinking for the sake of deep thinking, but this snowpocalypse changed all that. On my son’s sixth canceled day of school — after we had opened every puzzle, activity book, and weird Christmas gift that lives in the dark recesses of the upstairs closet — we started talking about the snow. About its sheer volume. And then my son said it’s weird to him that he hasn’t seen the ground or the grass in almost a month. And I said that made me wonder if it was even there. Then he said it must be there because the snow is sitting on top of SOMETHING that’s holding it in place. Then I said maybe it’s like Neo’s spoon from the Matrix, and there is no ground. But talk of a spoon made us both hungry, and hot soup interrupted what was sure to be crystal clear insight regarding the origins of the universe.
5. GETTING LOST IN PLAY
Speaking of my son Will, I’m worried he’s been using the iPad too much. After all, Minecraft is kiddie heroin. So I told my son to go outside and get lost in the exploration of nature in all of its snowy goodness. Unfortunately, I forgot how deep the snow drifts are and “losing yourself in play” has taken on a whole new meaning. Yes, that’s actually him. Well, it’s his head anyway.
4. LEARNING PATIENCE
As an impatient man, I’m ever so grateful to this monumental amount of snow for teaching me patience in so many forms. For instance, spending 60-90 minutes shoveling the deck, steps, walkway, and front of the driveway was exhausting to say the least. But when I was done, I was able to soak in the glory of a job well done for all of .64 seconds before turning around and seeing 5 inches of fresh powder in the place I had just cleared. Furthermore, I’ve also learned to be patient of those of you who don’t live around here, posting your beach photos. Or worse, absently complaining about temperatures dipping into the 50s which requires you to dig out your winter sweaters. I swear, I only made this face approximately 5,000 times before I eventually reverted to hitting myself in the face with a cast iron skillet so I wouldn’t hunt all of you down and skin you alive.
3. HELPING A FRIEND WITH HIS LOVE LIFE
One of my friends from out of the area is divorced and having some trouble meeting women. However, these apocalyptic snowstorms gave me an idea and helped him out of his rut. With ice dams ravaging the roofs of thousands of area homes and causing unspeakable property damage, stores can’t keep roof rakes and roof melt in stock for more than a few minutes. So he bought a roof rake on Amazon and loaded his truck up with melt, drove to Boston, and is now eyeball deep in New England women who would gladly toss Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady out of bed for a chance to be with my friend(‘s roof rake).
2. A CHANCE FOR BOSTONIANS TO MEET THEIR NEIGHBORS
Cities can be impersonal places at times, but these The Day After Tomorrow level storms have changed all that. You see, parking spaces on the street are already hard to come by, but in snowy weather it gets even more scarce. So if you see a dug out spot but it’s got a cone or a chair in it, here’s what you do. Get out of your car, move the object holding the space, put it on the sidewalk, and park your car in the space. I guarantee in just a few short minutes, you’ll meet your neighbor. Hell, you’ll probably meet your neighbor’s whole family as they rush out to meet you and have a few words. And next time, don’t be surprised if they graduate from a chair to a couch to save that public spot to which they have absolutely no claim whatsoever. Grandpa Sully and Grandma Marge will sooner move their entire living room to the street and freeze to death before giving up “their” spot that isn’t really theirs at all.
1. A NEW FOUND APPRECIATION FOR LIFE
As the snow has piled up, so too has my respect for the fragility of human life and my appreciation to be alive. You see, nearly 8 feet of snow has fallen. That means after the plows are done, the banks are 10, 12, or even 15 feet high. Higher than street signs in many places. So it goes without saying, way higher than my car. Every single day as I pull out of my driveway, I drive in the shadow of the Reaper — for I have no idea whether or not a car is coming from either direction. Honestly. I roll the window down to listen for unseen, oncoming traffic. I make my way out, inch by inch, straining my neck the entire time to see if a tractor trailer is about to end my life. At a certain point of no return, you have to just gun it and hope for the best. It’s the traffic version of Russian Roulette and it is truly unavoidable. And terrifying. But the silver lining is I’m grateful to be alive — until I hit the next intersection and do it all over again.
Hang in there fellow New Englanders, March is almost upon us.