I am one of those rare individuals who does not like snow days. I hate when school is canceled, and I hate not being able to drive. I do not relax or snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea. I do not gaze admiringly out the window. Instead, I fret…I pace…and, mostly, I get angry. So, it makes sense that one snow day, back in 1999, I took out my frustrations on a bunch of 10 year old kids.
My best friend Lisa and I, both 19 years old at the time, were stranded at my mom’s house during a particularly heavy snow storm that had canceled our college classes that day. By early afternoon, we had exhausted all possible snow day resources: we had baked cookies with my mother, we had played cards, we had watched TV and movies, and we had smoked a lot of cigarettes. This last point is important because the depletion of our cigarette reserve was the impetus for the 2-mile trek to the Magic 7 (a neighborhood 7-Eleven type joint).
Lisa and I bundled ourselves up, strapped on our boots, and headed out into the tundra. No cars were on the road, so we had free reign of the streets in our neighborhood. We gossiped, we jumped into snow drifts, and ranked each other’s landings Olympics-style (“A perfect 10 for Lisa from the Unified Team!”). We were actually having a great time despite the inclement weather. Along the way, we came across a group of six kids who were also enjoying their snow day off from school, chasing each other around and launching snow balls into the air. When Lisa and I walked by them, they stopped and stared at us and then gave each other furtive glances. Lisa and I noted the suspicious look of this group but continued on our way.
We arrived at the Magic 7, bought 10 packs of cigarettes (we genuinely thought we were snowbound indefinitely), and headed for home. Eventually, we hit the street where the kids had been playing. As we walked down the middle of the street, the eerie silence foreshadowed impending doom. Even Lisa and I went quiet, both of us knowing that some shit was about to go down.
A snowball, from seemingly nowhere, hit my shoulder. Then another one hit Lisa in the back. Snowballs rained down like drone strikes, our attackers remaining safely out of sight. We tried to yell, to shield each other, to run – but the snowballs kept coming. We were under fire, sitting ducks trapped in the wide open center of this banal suburban block.
Like most aggressors – or, like most 10 year olds – they got cocky…and greedy. Their successful sneak attack was not good enough. They needed more: they wanted to see our stunned faces up close and taunt us. They appeared from out behind the cars where they were hiding – laughing, and yawping, and slapping each other high-five as they circled around us in the street. Haha! They had brought down the big kids! They had asserted their prepubescent selves against the adults and won! Part of me actually understood their joy and triumph.
Unfortunately, my empathy only went so far. One of the girls tried to run by, hurling some silly insults at us, and I lost it. I dropped the bag of cigarettes to the ground, threw my arm out – Go-Go-Gadget style – and grabbed her fluffy pink hood, pulling her down hard into the street. (In the NFL, that would be called a “horse collar.”) I held her on the ground with one hand, grabbed a handful of snow with the other, and completely smothered her whole face in hard, cold wetness. (In my youth, that would be called a “white wash”). She screamed mercilessly, and her friends took off running. I left her there and went after the other kids, trying to tackle as many of them as I could. Lisa picked up the bag of cigarettes and protected them, standing on the sidelines as her friend went all Lord of the Flies on these young ruffians.
The kids got away and probably went home to tell their moms of my abuse. Lisa and I were heated the whole way home, even going as far as to plot our revenge (which involved Super Soakers…don’t ask). When we got home, we angrily recounted the entire story for my mother. She listened quietly and intently as we raged on and on about these little punk kids. She looked at us, put down a plate of chocolate chip cookies, and with complete seriousness and, what I imagine to be slight disappointment or even disgust, said, “You’re both fucking idiots.”
That was the best snow day I ever had.