snowless snow days and automatic experts

Snowless Snow Days and Automatic Experts

Complaining about snow days. It’s what we do here in Western North Carolina

The problem? The weather here is anything but homogenous. Seriously. A friend who lives less than five miles from me can get six inches of ice and snow when I get not one flake. The southern part of the county might get a foot of snow while the northern districts get only a few inches. At my house, I can have just a dusting, then hear from a friend in the western part of the county who is looking at a two-inch sheet of ice on her street. It’s crazy.

Not only are the conditions markedly different from district to district, we have roads that coil around the mountains and are tricky when it’s 70 degrees and sunny. And that’s in my Honda. Can’t imagine what it’s like on those roads in a school bus. (Nor do I ever, ever, ever want to find out.)

All this creates a situation uncommon in counties where the roads are straight and every resident gets equal precipitation. I call it the Snowless Snow Day.

Here in Western North Carolina, we have all at some time experienced the Snowless Snow Day. Consequently, we start talking about whether or not schools will close as soon as we see flakes in the forecast. We are not at all deterred by the fact that it does not matter what we think. Indeed, no one cares if we want or need a snow day. The principal of our school doesn’t care. The superintendent doesn’t care. The weather channel certainly doesn’t care.

Truly, the question, “Do you think we should have a snow day,” is about as relevant as “Do you think penguins prefer salmon or flounder?” The answer to either question has no impact on upcoming events. (Unless, of course, you are a salmon. Or a flounder. Or a chef for penguins with discriminating tastes.)

Me, I’d rather schools be closed when there is a chance they could have operated without incident, than to be open when safety is questionable. I think about the teacher driving a mini-van risking a wreck trying to get out of his icy neighborhood; the school bus driver traveling those icy corkscrew roads; and the teen driver who hasn't had nearly enough experience driving in ice and snow.

But I do know that it is not that simple for some folks. As I see it, these people fall into two groups.

  1. Those who lose income as a result of the closing. (For example, you have to stay home with young children so you miss work; or you work for the school system in some capacity that doesn’t include the benefit of paid snow days.)
  2. Those who are at risk because of the non-closing. (Such as when it is truly unsafe for you to leave your neighborhood, but if you don’t work, you aren’t paid.)

Obviously, even if you do have a valid reason for your frustration with the status of school closing, it won’t change the decision. But at least you have legitimate cause to be upset. The rest of us are merely inconvenienced know-it-alls who have suddenly become experts on road conditions across the county.

Snow days are wonderful or hideous, depending on your circumstances or maybe your perspective. But one thing I know for certain is that all the fussing in the world (even if it’s on Facebook) won’t change a thing. So I’m going to try to spend the mental energy I would have wasted on school closings on something more important. Like, what kind of fish do penguins eat?

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

Leave a Comment:

Jen says January 10, 2017

So very true! Even here in upstate NY, from one county to the next, there can be WILD fluctuations in weather! I drove home last week, maybe 45 minutes - little fluffs of snow, nothing flying but snow on the ground, almost complete white out, then dry and clear!! Be safe - and I'll be interested to hear which fish penguins prefer!!

    Aileen Lawrimore says January 10, 2017

    It's crazy isn't it? Everything's been closed around here since Saturday. It's melting now, but I'm sure there are some shaded areas that will not melt as fast as others; the complaints will begin soon about why they have or have not cancelled school tomorrow. I am always up for a snow day. Even though I'm an over-the-top extrovert, being locked in with my books is pretty much euphoria for me! Happy Tuesday!

Cindy Whitaker says December 12, 2018

I would gladly hand my school bus keys over to a complainer about snowless snow days. I have had the unfortunate opportunity to slide off an icy road while driving a loaded school bus, It's not fun! And the "no buses on icy roads" is a joke. A road may be clear when you turn onto it, but after the first turn, is covered in solid ice. Which was the problem I encountered when I slid off the road. School or no school is not a decision I would want to have to make..

    Aileen Lawrimore says December 12, 2018

    You are so right Cindy! Grateful for devoted and careful drivers like you!

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