I officially love snowstorms. Especially ones that halt anything but essential activity within hundreds of miles of its core. Saturday’s wet and out-of-season storm rescued me from attending a neighbor’s Halloween costume party. It’s an annual event, and although it didn’t fill me with any overly introspective apprehensions, the thought of going was a nuisance.
I’ve known my neighbors for seven years, generally think highly of them, and our kids are good friends. I don’t think highly of Halloween, however. It is a pagan holiday, and is as much a part of my Christian identity as Diwali or Hanukkah. Would anyone catch me pressuring Hindus or Jews to sing hymns, build a nativity scene or wax gluttonous and materialistic in the run-up to December 25? Likewise, I’ve always been puzzled when grown people, including Hubby, figure that Halloween festivities are a foregone conclusion, and are curious about why I don’t want to dress my child up in occult, or any other costume for that matter. I’m fascinated with several different turns in the Halloween discussion: their admonitions that my child will force this issue on me, the rather self-defeating argument that celebrating Halloween is not big deal (so why waste time and money on this thing?), and the shocking observation—from educated, middle-aged people—that ‘everyone else does it’. It’s at that point when I start to wonder where I am and how I came to be trapped in a BAD after-school special. Remember those?
And yet, in the interest of not raising a socially awkward child, I compromised. I hunted down a dirndl for her to wear to the festivities at school and in the neighborhood. Ocktoberfest in comparison is a nice, legitimate cultural festival that I can adapt nicely to the season. Even if Hubby’s paternal line hasn’t lived in Germany for 120 years. Even if we don’t speak a lick of German. Dirndls are the cutest cultural outfits ever, so dressing her up in one of them worked out to be a very fine compromise!
After I watched that snow come down, and listened to Hubby report that non-essential travel would be foolish, I texted my regrets to my friend. The storm turned out to be a doozy. It saddled stately oak trees with wet snow while they were in late autumn bloom. The combined weight of the snow and leaves snapped off heavy boughs. Centuries-old trees were uprooted and toppled, like a child’s discarded toys. We lost partial power and all our heat.
I mourn the demise of majestic oaks as much as the next city girl, but the bigger issue here is that snow has also spared me from unwanted social contact more than once. Almost three years ago, on a beatific Saturday in January, another weekend snowstorm prevented a female friend of Hubby’s and her family from visiting us at our new house. For several reasons, that woman did not impress me. When we first became acquainted through Hubby, I found her to be aloof. Snooty people don’t bother me, so long as they keep to their part of the sandbox, and to be fair, people still accuse me of being standoffish. But as time passed, I watched her behave ungraciously on a few occasions. The deal breaker came when Hubby and I were halfway through our engagement, and I found out that she had delivered to him a stream of withering insults about me, beyond the garden-variety mean girl scratches. Modern women furnish their social circles with these oddities called “frenemies.” That useless knick knack will never find its way into my life. It sounds like a huge waste of time and intelligence for women to put on false airs and graces for people they cannot ultimately trust. After witnessing that onslaught of nastiness and other tacky behavior, I rebuffed her elegant parlor pretenses and decided to compartmentalize her. I prayed I wouldn’t have to show her around my three-story Queen Anne. We have not, blessedly, had much contact since.
Snowstorms can be a pain for all of the work and trouble that ensues—the shoveling, salting, power cuts, and depending on atmospheric temperatures, the black ice. But whenever diplomatic relations with female heads of household are on ice, I’ll take the blocked roads, too. I say let it snow.