A snow day is God’s way of saying “Chill, homes. Stay home.”
You know what it took Tuesday to get Clifton Scarborough and his young family out into the snow and ice?
“My phone fell in the tub,” Scarborough said when I asked why he and his family – one of very few families at The Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham on Tuesday – left their warm home. “I was giving my son a bath” when the cellphone dropped into the water.
He held up a bag containing a new phone.
I apologized for laughing.
Few other Triangle residents faced similar emergencies, apparently, because many stores in the mall were devoid of shoppers. Seemingly half of the stores at Southpoint were closed or, at about 4 p.m., were preparing to.
Not much business
Most of the half-dozen employees at stores that were open, citing corporate policies, were reluctant to talk when I asked “How’s business?” or “How do you feel about working today?”
They were reluctant to speak with their mouths, that is. Their faces screamed how they felt.
“As you can see, we’re swamped,” one woman said, motioning around her customer-less store, facetiousness dripping from her lips the way the rapidly disappearing snow was disappearing from grassy fields down which desperate children tried to slide.
It’s hard to enjoy a snow day when there is barely enough snow with which to entertain one’s self.
Scarborough wasn’t taking a snow day, he said, because he was already scheduled to be off from his job at a home for autistic adults. He thought it would be good to get his family – wife, daughter and sleeping tot – out of the house for a while. The soggy phone provided a good excuse.
“He said we can play in the snow when we get home,” his daughter, Deona, a second-grader, said excitedly.
Not wanting to break her hopeful heart, I didn’t tell her there was little chance of building a snowman late Tuesday.
Let me tell you, there are some sad things known to man, but few things are sadder than seeing – as I did on a hill in front of a church on Durham’s Cornwallis Street – children tumbling head-over-heels because there is too little snow down which to slide.
Seeking a snow buddy
Oh yeah: Here’s something that’s sadder than even that. On social media sites, people were advertising for snow buddies willing to traipse over to their place and ride out Winter Storm Octavia with them, snuggled in front of a fireplace.
I emailed one guy in Henderson to ask if he’d had any success with his ad, which read, “if you are lonely married don’t have a boy friend and just want too cuddle, hey hit me back and lets see where it goes.”
When you’re looking for a snow buddy, grammar and punctuation be damned, apparently.
He didn’t respond, so perhaps someone real did answer.
A mall employee who would talk, Antonio Delgadillo, sold me a cigar and said, “You are literally the second customer I’ve had all day.”
Dang. I felt so bad for him that I offered to buy another one.
There may not have been enough snow to make a decent snowman – or hardly a snow cone – but there was enough for our TV stations to display their usual restraint (tee hee) whenever a flake is spotted headed toward the Triangle. At least one station’s noon news consisted, as best I can remember, entirely of weather-related stories.
Ah, so that’s what they mean when they say “Snow news is good news.”
Sorry. I’ll show myself out.