I'd only been living in DC for 6 months when I experienced my first Winter Storm Warning. My then roommate, a senior at George Washington University, phoned into the weather hotline and learned that all classes were canceled the following day. Lucky for her too, since she had an exam scheduled in the morning and had spent the night partying at Tequila Grill instead of studying.
I woke up the next day to bright sunshine. An inch of snow had fallen overnight and the entire city shut down. It was amazing to me - the threat of a snow storm had canceled classes and shut down the city and federal government.
Those were the good ol' days of city government led by Mayor Marion Barry.
I laughed at these silly Washingtonians. These people who, upon hearing of a threat of snow, stampede to grocery stores and clear out water, milk, bread and toilet paper in minutes. I used to giggle at those empty store shelves.
What was the big deal? It's just a little snow.
Eight years later, the city has finally gotten to me. I've turned into one of *those* people. Bob Ryan hints at a swirl of flakes and I start to pray for a snow day. Yes you read correctly - the people of Washington DC are accustomed to snow days.
At the very least, I can count on sleeping a little late and getting into work at 10:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m.. Like today.
Nothing shuts down the government quicker than the threat of inclement weather.
And I wonder, what happened to the girl who drove through inches of gray sludge to get to work in Boston? The girl who faced the angry winds of Syracuse and trudged between 12 foot snow drifts to get to class? I'd look out the window, visibility barely 2 feet, and throw on party clothes for a night of dancing.
Late yesterday afternoon, sitting with friends in the warmth of Biddy Mulligan's, I watched as the pavement went from slick, to icy, to slush. People in parkas and wool hats scurried across and around Dupont Circle - everyone in a hurry to get out of the nasty weather. By 8:00 p.m. the streets were deserted.
What is it about snow that sends everyone home in a panic? And why is a person's first instinct to run to the grocery store and pickup water, milk, bread and toilet paper? I mean, do they REALLY think they'll be snowed in for days and days?