On this, all agree: It’s been an incredibly tough winter.
But with more snow forecast this week, a divide has emerged, one that would seem curious only to someone not from here. It pits those who want bragging rights for the worst winter ever against those who just want it to end. Now.
Keith Mills’s wine shop in Milton was obscured by a mountain of white for much of February. Business evaporated. At home he has had ice dams, leaks, and a balky furnace. Shoveling has become a way of life. Yet, he is rooting for more snow.
Boston is only 1.9 inches away from breaking the 107.6-inch record set in 1995-96, and more snow could come Wednesday night.
“I say, ‘Bring it on, baby!’ ” said Mills. “This is Boston. We’re all about records.’’
Carisa Cunningham, who works in Downtown Crossing and takes the Green Line (when it is running, anyway) from her Coolidge Corner home, begs to differ. “No! No! No! If I never see another snowflake again, I would be happy. I could not care less about a record.”
Cunningham, the spokeswoman for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, says she has had it with the dangers of walking and driving and the hassles of taking the T.
“You just feel persecuted by it,” said Cunningham, who works on the aptly named Winter Street.
From therapists to weathermen, the experts understand the (bi)polar feelings.
“People are saying, ‘It’s been so miserable. Let’s at least get to say our misery was record-breaking,’ ” said meteorologist Harvey Leonard of WCVB-TV, who has been forecasting weather in New England for more than 40 years. “They’re saying, ‘Let’s break it and get it over with, and let’s get on with spring.’ But I know there are people who don’t want to see another flake for the rest of their lives.”
According to Leonard’s forecast, the Tuesday night snowfall probably wouldn’t cut it, with only 1 to 2 inches predicted. But the record-breaking might happen late Wednesday night and Thursday morning, he said. “The soonest it could get broken is Thursday morning. But that snow might be a little south of us, so it’s not guaranteed.’’
Therapists say the forecasts are triggering spikes in anxiety disorder among clients already feeling battered and beleaguered. “They’re anxious, like a dog waiting to be kicked,” said Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist.
He can relate, and counts himself solidly in the “no más” category. “Not another snowflake. I do not want a record. I mean, God almighty, enough’s enough.”
But in Abington, Michelle Mayberger, who owns Happy Dogs Pet Resort, cannot wait for more snow. Her motives extend beyond the record. She has seen a rise in her day-care business, owing to the mountainous drifts that are preventing owners from letting their pups run around their yards. With a plow and snow blower, she has been able to clear good paths for her four-legged friends.
“I’m glad,” she added wryly, “that someone’s enjoying the snow.”
But even those hungry for a record are not entirely united. They fall into two camps: those who want just enough snow to claim the top spot and a decidedly smaller group of those who want to crush it.
“I want to break the record big because it would make history,” said Rufus Huff, who works for Keolis Commuter Services in Wakefield, which operates the MBTA’s still-hobbled commuter rail. “Maybe 10 inches or more, so it will stand for a long time, and maybe never even be broken again.”
During the Blizzard of 1978, Governor Michael S. Dukakis was the only politician in the state who showed up at work. How is he weathering the storms?
“I feel a little guilty about this, but this is our 20th winter quarter at UCLA, where I teach during January, February, and March, so Kitty and I have been enjoying another warm and glorious Southern California winter,’’ he confessed in an e-mail. “We’ll be back in April when the magnolias are blooming on Commonwealth Avenue.”
But if he were in Boston right now?
“I’d be rooting for spring at the earliest possible time,” he said.
Whether or not you want the record broken, psychiatrist Hallowell has some advice for all who are exhibiting signs of snow fatigue: “Complaining is the best thing to do. . . . It’s good for the soul. Don’t suck it up. Don’t look on the bright side. There is no bright side.”
Leonard says that the calendar is our best friend these days.
“I do see some signs that perhaps in the second half of the month, it looks like enough of a pattern change that we could get something closer to average,” he said.
But didn’t we have an April Fool’s blizzard one year?
“Yes, on March 31 and April 1, 1997, it produced 25.4 inches of snow,” he said.