In a blizzard, everything takes longer. Getting dressed means pulling out the thermal tights, extra jacket and second pair of socks. Walking a few blocks feels like a genuine workout because taking each step also entails pushing aside lumps of snow. Even for those who have wisely chosen to stay within the confines of their own homes, plans to do things like answer emails and catch up on work usually get shifted around in favour of eating pasta.
I can’t say that the Great Blizzard of 2016 came upon us unexpectedly because, for a city that should be used to its string of flurries in the winter, it was all anyone’s been talking about since last week— The New York Times even published a piece encouraging people to spend the day not being go-getters. We’ve been placed under blizzard warning by Friday morning, which my roommates and I took as an excuse to stock up on as much junk food as possible. Who wants to eat kale and oatmeal when the snow is hitting at your window like it’s two shakes away from breaking through the glass, after all? Those are the days that instant mac-and-cheese is made for.
I woke up on Saturday to a snowed-up balcony and an iPhone that told me that I was not to expect any break in snowfall until 2 am of the next day. While I am not someone who has seen more sand than gravel (my hometown receives about 0.2 centimetres of snow each year), my time spent in the snow is usually confined to brief sojourns to the mountain. Many of the usual sights of an East Coast blizzard were entirely new to me—lumps of white powder that supposedly had cars hidden underneath, ten snowploughs in one street, strands of hair that freeze around your face from the water accumulation… I spent the day verbalizing my wonder about snow that goes up to your knees and subsequently enduring endless jokes about Canadians being surprised by the cold. When will people learn that a country with the longest coastline in the world will have varying weather regions?
But anyway. I remained glued to the window for much of the day, but did hazard outside on two occasions to do all the things that kids (and giddy adults) do when it snows: make snow angels, build snow people, and walk outside to chat with anyone who was crazy enough to be outside at the same time. Snow brings out the social side of people—things such as saying hi, smiling and making small talk about the water in your shoes with strangers no longer remain anomalies.
Despite my uncharacteristic attention to the battery levels on my phone, iPad and computer, the blizzard ended as uneventfully as it started, quietly with the morning sunshine and heaps of snow. I never lost power or the internet, ran out of food, fell into a snowbank or had any other misadventure to justify a more captivating woman vs. nature plot line, but I did learn that people prefer blizzard stories more than any other ones—my usual bout of oversharing on social media has not been met by quite the same disdain. I also realized that, as long as you don’t have important places to get to that day, the prospect of twelve of falling snow isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world.
Surviving the first major snowstorm on the East Coast like such a milestone.