My name is Julie Nariman and I’ve been an educator since 2017, but there is a certain joy I still receive when there’s a snow day. The educator side of me doesn’t like the idea of missing a day of student learning. But the kid side of me loves snow, and the idea of playing for a day is intoxicating.
The second day of spring this year, NYC declared no school, a snow day. However, the idea of staying home didn’t seem to be so much fun to me. I watched as my boyfriend Sathya was getting ready for work. He works as a video editor in Manhattan. No snow days for private sector workers.
“You know how I want to spend my snow day?” I asked him. “Going to work with you. Taking the bus, the train. I’ll find something to do in Manhattan. Get out of the house. Make snow angels, blog in a coffee shop, go outside again. Have fun.”
I quickly pulled on my snow pants and snow boots and we left together. We ran to the Bx 12 bus and for the first time ever during rush hour, we got seats. I looked at the faces of the folks on the bus; all people who looked either resigned, or content, to be going to work.
On the Metro North to Manhattan, we fumbled with our tickets when the conductor came to us.
“What are you sorry for?” she exclaimed brightly.
“You’re right,” I said. “I’ll start my day without being sorry.”
“That’s right,” she said.
At Grand Central, Sathya was about to rush off to work, but then realized that he normally gets to work 30-40 minutes early. We had time for a coffee. We went to the basement of Grand Central, bought coffees, chatted, and looked around. We noted the beautiful ceiling and the rare, quiet nature of the place without so much hustle and bustle. We enjoyed each other’s presence and the presence of the people around us.
Sathya went to work and I sauntered over to Barnes and Noble.
“Need any help?” a man asked.
“No, I’m fine. I’m just grateful this nice warm store is open on a snowy day. Thanks for working today.”
He brightened and smiled.
An hour later, I walked over to Lord and Taylor, past the makeup counters. The store was deserted except for the well-coiffed employees, each who gave me attention as if I were a queen. I stopped at one counter to ask for a product and interacted so much with the makeup artist that we exchanged numbers at the end. I felt like I had gained a new friend.
I continued from place to place, stopping for 30 minutes here, then walking through the snow, then back to a coffee shop or store. As I interacted with the employees, I thanked each of them for working on this snowy day. The service everywhere seemed particularly excellent. The snow somehow gave people permission to slow down and interact rather than rush through each task. It reminded me of the excellent TED Talk by Susan Pinker, The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life.
It was a slushy day, no day for snow angels. In fact, I got so hot at one point, I took off my snow pants and stowed them in my backpack. But it was a great day to interact with people whose snow day was a normal day of work, and deserved a “thank you.”