In spending winter in New York for the first time, I have had the pleasure to experience that white fluffy cold stuff that falls from the sky. You know the stuff I mean, those little ice crystals that evolve from the moisture up above when the air is really cold.
As a bilateral amputee, I was apprehensive on how I would go walking in the snow. As it turned out, I was right to feel this way! It is not an easy feat with no feet. Your ankles don’t bend, so once you are in and it caves around you, lifting it out again is like doing leg weights! And balance, well that was a whole other issue. Lucky enough, most of the sidewalks are cleared in order to get around. There are those tricky moments where there is build up onto the roads. Again, I am fortunate to have friends with the capacity to pick me up and lift me over the snow where need be!
On the positive side, my feet don’t get cold. I am sure I am the only person in New York that wears dresses, sandals and open-toed shoes in winter? There have been many elated moments of bystanders and strangers approaching me to ask me if I have cold feet. Even a distraught and concerned NYPD Cop on New Year’s eve was just hoping I had a blanket with me!
But it got me thinking. Snow, what is it good for? Hmmm, absolutely nothing (say it again!). Living in a city, there is no real point to snow – is there? I’m not just thinking about me here, I am thinking of the poor people who need to wear socks and boots. Always having to add extra layers as you go out the door, only to peel them off when you get in a cab, or go to the store – just to do it all over and put them back on again. A task repeated more than 20 times per day – it becomes a little frustrating after a while.
Yes, I say snow has a vision of beauty. Covering and altering the shapes of the city, leaving a trail of white powder that can create snowmen and snowangels on the ground. But what is its practical side? It hinders moving cars, increases slow traffic on the road, and creates a mood of wanting to stay indoors. Let’s look at the Sun for a minute (not literally). The health benefits of the Sun are well-known, it provides us with happiness and joy and better yet, Vitamin D. I am yet to discover a health benefit of snow. We get sick, colds and flu set in and for some reason our immune systems get shot down and we don’t want to leave the house.
Snow can seriously get in the way of things. Australia Day in New York was an event I had been looking forward to, Aussie beer, Aussie food – Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! BUT…. the ‘big snow storm’ was coming and the city had a curfew. Who would believe that they would shut New York down? The city that never sleeps was as quiet as a mouse, not a soul in sight and it felt like it was the end of the world.
Not only did I encounter resistance from my doorman to even leave to go out, getting home at the end of the night was a troublesome adventure. In scampering as quickly as we could to get the last subway before curfew, we were confronted at the subway entrance by a man in army fatigues. In holding us back from entering the alcove to the elevator, he was concerned of his friend that was tucked away out of sight. I am glad to say that we missed the display of the golden shower in front of the elevator door, however as with snow I can’t quite jump puddles! A cab home was our only option!
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the fun side to snow and I am in no way averse to cold weather, far from it. However, as pretty as the flakes that fall and sprinkle on my toes, the practical side of me comes out. Snow, what is it good for?