It's snowed about a foot here in the Pacific Northwest. Which would be no big deal if this were the East Coast, or Nunavut, or any place where they have more than 57 dollars budgeted for snow removal. Here, though, it shuts everything down. The city comes to a stand-still not seen outside of post-apocalyptic zombie flicks and grassroot Bush rallies. Everything is improvised. That's because, rightly, there's little point in investing in equipment/gear/tools that you're going to use 1 week out of the year. But that also means... CHAOS!!
But not for the kids, thankfully. Snow is nature's Lego™ and Slip N' Slide ™ and hell's gateway to a glimpse into the Lord of the Flies mentality that lurks underneath a patois of Dora the Explorer and High School Musical 3 paraphernalia. With snow, you can go fast via the steerless miracles of sleds, you can build stuff and realize your genius in architecture until the inevitable next week's rain washes it away, or you can be taught the Natural Hierarchy of Life that all children who grow up in close proximity, must learn.
Adults, above and below a certain age, are to be feared. That is, old enough that they have all the strength in their pitching arm they're ever likely to get, and young enough that they find cruelty to youngsters hilarious. 18 or 19 is the ultimate age. You do not, under any circumstances, upset man-boys of that age. They will mess, you, up. The term 'facewash' should fill you with a terror so sharp and so ruthless that bowel control becomes a distant third to the thoughts of 'get the hell out of here' and 'oh dear god in heaven why is the universe so cruel?'. Snowballs from this age bracket come at sonic speeds, breaking sound barriers, melting the leading edge of the ball until it makes contact with your sheep-like, trusting mug.
As the adults get too old, say, 40ish, 50ish, well, they'll just give you a light chuckle with their weather worn face and keep walking. Below that, say, thirties, late twenties, you should be, at the very least, cautious. There should be a little reverence.
A little fear.
So it was with suprise that I dodged a few snowballs my way from a two 8-year olds.
Oh, ha ha, I thought. Young scamps. Just having a bit of fun. But they persisted. They had no fear. They had no concept of the Hierarchy.
Now, I have about as much talent in ballistic snow projectiles as a Timorese headhunter, but I do have a smidge of pride. So when I went near the two boys to help Owlet up (faceplanting into the snow being her ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE activity), I was near my limit. One of the boys finally tags me in the leg. Here I'm thinking. I'm trying to help a two year old, give it a break. And another voice speaks up, reminds me of the sacred bond of the Hierarchy.
HE MUST BE TAUGHT!
But, you know, the mom is standing about 5 feet away, so not taught too well, as it were. I grab a very small fluff of powder and toss it in his face. Toss. Underhanded.
The poor kid gets up with a mug of utter hopelessness, as if I'd just taken a baseball bat to his puppy's kneecaps, and kinda sniffles at his mom, doing the hangdog thing. The mom looks at him, and, I suspect someone has told her of the Hierarchy, because she says, "You kinda deserved that."