It seems that the snowstorm that is about to hit this part of the country very, very hard was enough to push the otherwise sedate National Weather Service to write a report that includes the phrase, “unleash its fury.” We’ve been back at school for a week now, and we’re all kind of bracing ourselves for fifteen to eighteen inches of snow. Something like a welcome back present, I guess. I’m still on campus tonight, and there’s no snow falling yet, but it’s clear the sky is about to do something. (“Unleash some fury,” I suppose!) I’m not anticipating catastrophe, because this area is generally very good about cleaning up after snow events, and there’s so much in walking distance that we’re not in real danger of being stranded. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have an always-prepared-and-on-top-of-stuff roommate: Long Island took us to Wegmans last night to restock our fridge. If any of our friends run out of food, they should know that we have endless supplies of hummus and an awful lot of ice cream for this point in the year.
Personally and selfishly, I really hope school is cancelled. Not for skipping class, as it’s way too early in the semester for me to need extra days to finish work. And I wouldn’t want to miss a Wednesday, because a favorite class meets then: GOVT 4112: The Politics of Change, a senior seminar on the first two years of the Obama administration. My desire for cancellation is more for the mythic status of a Cornell snow day. Cornell rarely closes for snow (more details in this article), so I’ve always wanted to be among the small group of Cornellians who can say they’ve ever had a snow day. I maintain that partial day closings don’t count, so the half-day we had off last fall was, to me, an insignificant aberration. The midday closings are annoyances to students but hugely hazardous to faculty and staff who have to drive to campus. So if Cornell decides to close, I hope it’s early enough to keep people off the icy roads.
A sidenote on that Valentine’s Day closure in 2007: if I am recalling correctly, this same snowstorm left a few inches of ice in the Washington, DC area and closed schools for ten days. My hometown’s reaction to snow is a study in contrasts compared to Cornell: usually unfounded panic, a disorganized response, and BMWs with no snow tires spinning out everywhere. I hope no one tells Ed “Nation of Wusses” Rendell about us… he’d be proud of Ithaca.