I was up at 4:45 am, preparing for a conference call about the storm. And by preparing, I mean that I was watching the news and cussing at the weather woman, who was taking professional vagueness to a whole new level.
When that meteorologist told me and the greater Philadelphia audience that the snow totals and the timeline for the storm would vary so much from neighborhood to neighborhood that she could give no real prediction, I knew that the bosses would decide to keep the office open. And so I went to work!
Snow always makes me super cranky. I resent the vague and inaccurate weather forecasts and feel anxious driving in poor visibility, high winds, and in a pool of slush.
Walking with wind and sleet in my face adds to my unhappiness and my unhappiness builds to anger when I remember that the City of Philadelphia is fast to declare a state of emergency, but is crazy slow to plow the streets or treat the sidewalks .
And then there is stepping in ankle deep puddles, climbing over knee high ice hills and then falling in super slow motion with my arms flailing, just to land on my fanny.
All of these things happened that day, so for the record, I was having a bad day. Cause like I said, snow makes me cranky.
But then –
I could hear them before I saw them.
Our waiting room had been empty all day, with only seven out of one hundred scheduled patients making it in.
But now the waiting room seemed filled by just two little girls who were holding hands and jumping in a circle, and chanting about snow. They were preschoolers and they were smiling and laughing and hugging each other in our big empty waiting room.
“Look at our boots,” the two smiling girls said to me, each sticking out one foot for my inspection. They were both wearing purple suede boots that were embroidered with pink and yellow flowers and trimmed with light purple fur.
“We are friends,” said one of the cuties, still smiling broadly. “And we have purple boots.” They both stuck out one foot for my inspection again.
It turns out that these little girls were not sisters or cousins or even neighbors. They had just met that day, in our large and empty waiting room. Of course they connected immediately, across the open space, because they were wearing the exact same purple flowered snow boots.
“Wow, girls!,” I asked, “Isn’t it neat that you both have the same boots?”
“It is because of the snow,” one little girl said confidently.
“snow, snow, snow,” the other whispered softly.
“We get to wear our boots because of the snow.”
“snow, snow snow.”
The whispering chant grew louder as the hand holding circle jumping resumed.
“snow, snow, snow, snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, SNOW, SNOW, SNOW..”
“If it didn’t snow,” one of the gals said suddenly, as if this was just occurring to her, “she wouldn’t be my friend.”
For a moment, they looked at each other thoughtfully and considered this.
When the staff called the first little girl in to see the doctor, those two hugged goodbye and held onto each other like the oldest and dearest of friends until their mothers pulled them apart.
Perspective can come from experience. My experience that day involved planning my day without a reliable forecast, walking in the city with sleet beating my face, and navigating, on foot, the untreated sidewalks of Philadelphia.
But those little girls had faced those same experiences and yet, they were now holding a rave in the lobby and making friends.
Of course, I had also fallen on my butt in the snow. But these girls had fallen several times right in my presence as they ran and slid across the wood floor and had jumped up, unfazed.
So how was their perspective so full of positivity, while I was caught up in my own grumpiness?
Was it due to naivety or a childhood unburdened by responsibility? Was it due to youthful wide-eyed wonder at a landscape covered in white?
Or was the joy of those girls driven simply by those purple suede boots with the yellow and pink flowers?
Today, the weather report told me indecisively that winter may not be over. The temperatures are still below freezing and that snow on the ground is lingering. Another storm could be on the horizon.
It might be time to find that new perspective.
I wonder where I can find purple flowered snow boots in an adult woman’s size 8!
snow, snow, snow, snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!!