Snowfall is rarely a cause for celebration at my age. When I was young, I loved the snow. Loved it. Snow meant sledding. Snow meant snowball fights with the neighborhood kids. And, most importantly, snow meant no school.
At the slightest hint that there might be snow in the forecast, my classmates and I would grow incredibly excited. "Did you hear it might snow tonight?" "Yeah, six inches." "The guy on Channel 4 said nine inches." "Channel 2 said 18 inches!"
I would voluntarily move up my bedtime that night so I could wake up early the next day and tune in to the adult contemporary radio station, hoping to hear the DJ announce that my school was closed for the day. Belinda Carlisle and Rick Astley never sounded as sweet as they did when they followed the news that my school had shut down due to inclement weather.
My perspective on snow has changed since then. Now, I hate the snow. Hate it. Snow means the sidewalks will transform into a slushy mess. Snow means a slower commute. Snow means having to drag myself to work when I'd rather stay home and have snowball fights with the neighborhood kids.
I believe most New Yorkers share my opinion of snow. It's very difficult to deal with snow in the city. You have to shovel it and drive in it in the suburbs? We have to walk several blocks in it and wait several extra minutes for delayed buses and subway trains because of it. It's such a major inconvenience.
I'll tell you who enjoys the snow here: dogs. They're very happy when there's an accumulation of snow on the ground. Why? Because it gives them something new to pee on in public.
You can't walk more than 50 feet in New York City during wintry weather without finding a yellow-ish patch of snow in your path. I honestly believe dogs think to themselves, "The snow is so white and pure. It's the perfect spot to relieve myself."
The dogs will occasionally leave another gift on the snow, if you know what I mean. You'll see it laying on a bump of snow, at its summit. It's as if they'd scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and had to plant a flag to signify their accomplishment.
I'm often asked what the greatest challenge is in living in New York City. I would say it's walking on the sidewalks without avoiding dog waste. Even on a nice day. It's randomly placed, and sometimes well hidden, so it can be hard to detect. You have to pay really close attention. And the anxiety rises at those moments when you realize you're one step away from a pile, and you have to make a last-second leap to avoid contact. It's essentially an elaborate game of hopscotch that can last for dozens of blocks.
In the winter the game becomes even more difficult. Since the weather is more uncomfortable you're inclined to walk faster, but you also have more obstacles to dodge because of the dog-defiled snow. You're constantly sliding left and right and changing direction, like you've been inserted into a real-life version of Frogger, with the timer running out.
This would be a lot less stressful if I could find an adult to drag me around on a sled after a snowstorm. Let him keep an eye out for the urine and feces. But I can't, not like I could when I was a kid. And that's as good a reason as any to hate the snow now.