Snow Day

Posted: December 14, 2014 at 4:57 am

I woke up one Tuesday to a light dusting of snow, so light that it was not enough to completely cover the tiny gravel pieces of our terrasse, only filling in the spaces between the pebbles. That said, any snow in Aix was a rare occurrence.
“Kids, you can look at that computer as long as you want, but school won’t be cancelled today,” I said, as my children surfed their school’s website. “This little amount of snow won’t make any difference.”
“That’s not true, dad,” said Sophie. “Aline told me that whenever it snows school is cancelled because the buses can’t get up the big hills.”
“Don’t get your hopes up. Eat your breakfast so I can drive you to school.” Unfortunately for the children, one tenth of one centimetre of snow was two tenths shy of the amount required for a snow day in Aix. The kids shuffled into the car, heads bowed, grumbling.
By 10 o’clock, the winter sun had melted the night’s mistake and the roads were bone dry. Carol and I walked downtown to do our market shopping and then meet our friend Erin for lunch. An hour before our rendezvous, my ringing phone flashed Erin’s name.
“I’m so, so sorry, Bill, but I can’t meet you guys for lunch,” said Erin. “I have the girls with me all day.”
“Don’t they have school today?” I asked. Erin’s daughters went to a semi-private school called Sainte Catherine de Sienne in downtown Aix, which we happened to be walking past at that exact moment.
“Well, yes and no. I drove them to school like I always do, and you know the roads were fine. A bit wet. I was barely home, making a cup of tea when the directrice called and demanded, not asked, demanded, that I come back and pick the girls up. Only some of the teachers came in today, but most of them used this huge snowfall as an excuse to stay home.”
“Erin, I’m standing in front of your school right now, and the street is bare.”
“Oh, I know. But that’s not the crazy part. The directrice also told me that school is cancelled for Thursday too.”
“It’s only Tuesday,” I pointed out, unnecessarily.
“Remember, there’s never school on Wednesday, tomorrow. And they said that the forecast for Thursday didn’t look too good, so it was best to cancel it right now, to avoid confusion.”
“But that’s in two days. They’re cancelling school because of what the weather might be like in two days?”
“Don’t get me started. It’s nice when you run a private school…you collect the fees, no refunds, but you can still cancel school for no reason.”
“Actually, that’s an excellent French business model,” I said. “The more they cancel school, the more money they save. Their costs go down each day they don’t have to provide services. But their income is the same. If they could only figure out how to cancel school every day, but still collect the fees.”
“They’re working on it,” said Erin.