By Annie Ruderman '01
from Chicago, which means that when "winter" strikes this little
mid-Atlantic town of ours I generally scoff and secretly wish that
my car had four-wheel drive and that my mother was making minestrone
soup for dinner. So when "winter storm warnings" began to dominate
the evening news and rumors of the "worst storm in history" flooded
the campus faster than el Nino in July, I (as usual) scoffed and
thought nothing of the fact that my winter coat is now missing three
buttons or that I neglected to buy an appropriate pair of boots
The rest of Princeton
took matters more seriously. The University established a "snowline"
8-SNOW and posted "storm advisories" and "updates" on the Princeton
homepage. My eating club sent out an email, assuring members that
we were "prepared," but no meal-exchanging allowed and go easy on
the milk, please. Eve (from California), whose pre-Princeton idea
of a meteorological disaster were the two weeks of hazy June mornings
called "June gloom," brought back extra produce from dinner. For
my part, I'll admit that I did wager with Mother Nature and decided
to skip my Italian homework, due the following day. On Sunday night
the entire campus braced for the storm:
A slight drizzle that
soon turned into a slushy rain, which suspiciously resembled the
slight drizzle/slushy rain combination that has characterized Princeton
weather for the past for years and probably for four hundred before
that. The university, however, was "ready" and institution that
it is, remained closed for all but the essential services. The internal
logic of what does and what does not constitute an "essential service"
simply does not exist, but I would hazard a guess that whoever determined
that distinction holds a position in a "nonessential service." Classes
were (surprise) considered essential ñ but, and here's the
glorious silver lining in the would-be snow clouds -- only if your
professors could make it. Which meant arrivederci to Italiano.
As it turns out, I managed
a spectacular scheduling job this spring; all my professors hail
from the hinterlands of New Jersey or worse if that's imaginable.
Monday night I received an email stating that my scheduled movie
for that night and the corresponding seminar for Tuesday afternoon
had been -- cancelled! My life had just increased by nine hours,
courtesy of "the worst storm in history." I resisted the urge to
email back: I hope it snows until May.
Jokester that she is,
Mother Nature may have fooled Princeton Monday, but Tuesday morning
we were back in action and school opened at fully-capacity (except
my seminar!) at 10 am. Then it started snowing. To the distress
of some, but the thorough delight of most, it blizzarded in bursts
for most of the afternoon before giving up the effort entirely sometime
early Tuesday night.
I was walking back from
the computer cluster late that night when John (a southern boy)
remarked on how beautiful Princeton looked, now, in the wintertime.
The campus, he said "has the perfect amount of snow."
Sunshine. Blue skies.
Warm air. The winter storm is over. I venture outside without a
jacket on. That was nothing, I scoff to all who will listen. You
should see what we get back home.
You can reach Annie Ruderman