What we forget when we celebrate our day off
As a former New Englander, I miss the thrill of waking up some mornings and seeing a snowy wonderland outside my window. I used to live for the days of fighting through the five-foot-tall mountain piled up by our front door, building snowmen in our front yard, sipping hot cocoa from inside, and of course, sledding.
But when I heard the news that school would be closed on Friday, November 16 due to poor air quality, none of that childhood joy resurfaced. Despite missing a test and getting to sleep in late, something sat inside me uncomfortably. I saw people’s reactions to the announcement on social media and over text messages; most were rejoicing. Why couldn’t I experience the same happiness? What was different about this time compared to all the snow days I’d had before?
I turned on the television, determined to distract myself and enjoy the day off, but I was greeted with footage of flames swallowing homes, cars, and livelihoods.
Snow days, though resulting in school closures and slippery roads, are an expected part of life in the East Coast, and the community is prepared and able to deal with them. While blizzards can undoubtedly be damaging, they’re no anomaly and cities and states are well-equipped to get everything under control within a few days. “Smoke days,” as they have been dubbed, are the result of devastation and death, of people losing every belonging and sometimes even family members.
Is it appropriate to celebrate a day off resulting from this? I would say no. We have to look beyond ourselves and think about the hidden consequences of tempting perks like cheap online clothing, low gas prices, and unexpected school cancellations. I’m thankful to be breathing clean air today, but as I scroll through my newsfeed and shop online in post-Black Friday sales, I’m reminded of all the little things I enjoy or take for granted whose costs are greater than the price tag.
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