Saturday, November 15, 2014

Riding The Storm Out

My grandfather was a mail carrier. That's probably where I got my rain, wind, sleet and snow stamina. I have plenty of wet, windy days to my credit as a bicycle commuter here in California. Having the right shell and a trip of less than three miles makes it easier to wear that particular badge of courage. Some days I have wet socks, but mostly I deal with the rushing torrents as annoyance rather than deterrence. Every so often my wife looks out the window and says, "Wow. It's really coming down. Do you want a ride to school?" I know that a little rain never killed anyone, but I recognize that it's what people do when it rains that kills people, so I consider the offer. Then I zip up and press on out into the storm.
That choice is driven primarily by my previously mentioned bloodline and a youth spent at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. I used to walk to school in the snow. It used to take thirty minutes of prep to get all the necessary layers and gear on to make the mile trek uphill to my junior high school. Yes, you read that right: Uphill. A mile. In the snow. Not because it was honorable. It was reality.
Indoor recess was as rare back in those blizzard-y days as they are for us here in drought-stricken California. The difference is that when it does rain here, we always keep the kids inside. We don't expect them to bundle up and go outside to brave the elements. Snow and rain are different experiences, which may be the reason that us Colorado kids were sent outside in our boots and mittens and puffy coats to romp and play in drifts up to our necks. It was a different time. It was a different reality.
The reality in which I find myself currently, there are no snow days. There are no rain days. The schools stay open. I have heard stories of earthquakes keeping schools closed for a week, but that doesn't fall into the precipitation category. My guess is that if something like that were to happen here in the Bay Area, district officials might look to the example set by schools in the Midwest. Many school districts in the tundra are turning to technology to limit the impact of snow days. Students are expected to log in and work from the relative safety and comfort of their homes on their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Climate change has played havoc with the school year recently, and places like Minnesota and even New York City have asked their students to stay in school virtually. School boards are asking to include these days as part of the mandated one hundred eighty. No word yet on contingency plans for the zombie virus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Full disclosure: it was a mile downhill on the way home.