In sophomore year of college, I was part of history.
The University of Pennsylvania announced a snow day. Even more earth shattering was that the time off from school and work, associated with the most pleasant memories of childhood abandon, like building a snowman and having piping hot pancakes for breakfast, toasty cookies in the afternoon and a hearty pasta dish for dinner, lasted two consecutive days. That’s right. Two snow days In a row. You could imagine the amount of snow that fell.
That year, every inkling of magic that snow seemed to possess for me, had changed for the worse.
Snow and I were never the same. We still haven’t made amends. That is why this eminent snowstorm is wreaking havoc on me. The anxiety I am experiencing as people post photos of snowfall in the surrounding northeastern provinces, like D.C., is making me antsy.
And so it has begun. A sparkling blanket has appeared on the street outside my house. I am staring down at it from the alcove at the top of my stairs.
I remember when my mom used to host annual Christmas parties at our house - parties that weren’t catered. My parents made vegetable kofta from scratch and improvised bread-crumb coated aloo tikkis - potato patties. I remember when she and I wanted to wear red that day. I wanted to wear jingle bell earrings, and I did.
That year it snowed. It was magical. It was the white Christmas all those carols refer to. The songs materialized. Music was tangible. All that seemed out of reach had suddenly become tactile. The taciturnity of the snow and blessed day was pierced by giggles and the sound of polyester down jackets getting wet as my friends on the block laid flat against the surface of the snow-covered ground to create angelic footpaths.
One day in high school it was snowing mid-afternoon. By the time I was dismissed in the late afternoon, the buildup was considerable. Waiting for the city bus that likely would never come, was hellish.
I remember my ill-equipped rebellious adolescent feet, housed in mere ballet flats, being submerged in ice. My extremities felt frost-bitten. It was Valentine’s Day and I was daydreaming about a faceless prince all the while. I was also enjoying being in the company of my peers and other New Yorkers. The shared suffering was akin to huddling together for bodily warmth. The snow created a community.
I’m only human, a realist, and a temperamental New Yorker and so my patience was quickly expiring. Just then, my father’s car pulled up sleekly against the curb where the bus should have come but never did. I slid into the backseat, engulfed by the warmth of the heated car and the paternal feeling of love. Those were the days we didn’t argue- when hurtful exchanges weren’t made. Those were the days relationships weren’t in disrepair.
I knew my dad would come early from work that day regardless of the weather because he would take my mother and I out for a Valentine’s dinner. My brother was away at college.
Always ravenous, especially after school, and always that kid who relished non-home cooking, I was excited because I knew that the wait to sit at a dimly lit restaurant wouldn’t be long.
What I didn’t know is that I would have a gift waiting for me in the backseat of the car. Turning to my left, I found a gift bag addressed to me. Inside were a variety of sweet confections. He didn’t have time to go to Godiva that year, but there were Raisinets and other theater-going chocolate. A red envelope with a card was also inside.
Oh snow- it does wonders for the soul.
Flash forward to that fateful day in college. The university neglected to clean the front of my dormitory building, one of the oldest on campus. Just when I was getting used to not being in one of the high rise campus apartments due to the lottery system, I was snowed in my dorm for more than two days.
As a personal, self-imposed rule, I never kept any food in my room. I feared I would become fat if I did. I only ate my meals from the dining hall, which was closed because of the storm and once it had opened, I found nothing suitable to eat. For those three days I was starving and without food. If not for the kindness of my suite mate, I would have gone crazy. She offered me hot chocolate - a caloric beverage I never would have consumed. That day, however, every drop soothed my being.
I hated the snow for all it was - I hated its gaudy crystalline appearance so similar to the cheap diamond renditions of cubic zirconia. I hated it with all my being. And I still hate the snow to this day.
I hate the long lines in the supermarkets. I hate that even though we’re quite stocked up on everything, I won’t be able to buy my fruit fresh which I do daily. I made sure to buy enough for two days but I just dipped into what was supposed to be tomorrow’s supply of fruit and now I feel not only bad for caving into a perfectly normal and human craving, but also anxious about the idea of rationing.
I have everything I need for this weekend’s snow storm: I have my protein packed salmon in the freezer, my multigrain bread, my unsweetened cashew milk, oats for days, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, my raw almond and cashew butters, my spinach and artichoke hummus, my extra-large free range brown eggs, and two large sweet potatoes. I have my beta-carotene, protein, carbs, fats, and multivitamin on hand. Hell, I even have a double stock of hair, skin, and nail vitamin. Both of these supplements are fortified with extra vitamin C to stave off any illness that this weather may cause.
We’re locked and loaded, and yet I’m anxious to not have the option of venturing outside and absorbing some of that all natural Vitamin D.
I’m Jodie Foster in The Panic Room. When will I get out? It’s times like this that I itch for Spring.
My adult self longs for the lengthy bloc of a month, void of any holidays, known as March. The month that all school-goers detest because it seems an inordinate length of time to be without a break off from school.
For me, however, March is the month when Spring seems to make itself known. Egg coloring kits and chemically- derived marshmallows in an array of neon colors and in the shape of birds, for which kids should be carded at the register, are piled high on store shelves.
I still have fond memories of my mother hiding little Easter baskets with crinkly pastel-colored cellophane that hid plastic eggs with m&ms inside, mini shortbread cookies, and malted chocolate egg-bites.
Spring and I are on good terms - for now.
I can only hope that I’ll be close to weight-restored when the sun’s warmth is as potent as the light it sheds so that I can bike ride and picnic, mull around for miles in beautiful weather and visit a vineyard or hiking trail.