The lousy weather has done one thing for New Yorkers: It’s given them an excuse to stay home.
Snow, cold, slush and ice has closed schools, senior centers and even businesses at various times this winter. And plans for all manner of professional and social activities have been scuttled as one party decides it’s just too much trouble to scale the mountains of ice and ford the intersection oceans.
Kevin Mercuri, 45, the president and founder of Propheta Communications in Union Square, recently had two dinner parties canceled due to “snowy conditions” and a job candidate inform him she couldn’t makean interview because she didn’t want to venture down from the Upper East Side in nasty weather.
“Suffice it to say we did not reschedule the interview,” said Mercuri, who was prompted to wonder how someone deterred by weather might react to the demands of employment. Mercurisaid he believes many in our Sandy-scarred city have become weather wimps during lesser storms, overreacting to normal meteorological occurrences. “People have been dealing with snow for thousands of years!” said Mercuri, who was raised in New England. Unless a true emergency exists with the disruption of infrastructure services or someone is physically fragile, “there is no reason to throw everyone’s schedule into disarray,” by canceling, Mercuri said.
“Successful people who work hard do not let minor inconveniences get in their way,” and are mindful that the time others have set aside for them is valuable, said Roy Cohen, 58, an executive coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.”
Cohen had no beef with a client who called one Sunday explaining she was snowbound in Boston and unable to fly back for her Monday appointment (“that’s understandable and legitimate”). But he has little patience for people who cancel at the last minute simply because they don’t feel like getting cold or wet. His own parents, he recalled, soldiered through New York City snow storms when they were in their 70s to honor their volunteer commitments. Technology has made it easier for people to wimp out, said Cohen, noting “all you have to do is text,” a regret, without acknowledging the concerns of the party you’ve inconvenienced.
If people are already ambivalent, unmotivated or fearful about a meeting, a weather event “is a good way, and even a valid way to get out of it,” said Juan Olmedo, a Chelsea psychotherapist. . The media’s constant coverage of the weather “can create an anxiety and a fear about getting stuck or sick.” And let’s not forget that even Mayor Bill de Blasio told people “if you don’t need to go out, don’t go out,” Olmedo and others pointed out.
Alex Terrono, 23, an account executive from midtown, begged off a first date a couple weeks ago because “I didn’t feel like going back out into the wet and coldness.” He conceded his reluctance to brave the elements may have been based on a premonition that his efforts may not have been worth the reward. Indeed, when the two men finally met, sparks failed to fly.
Teo Johnson, who lives in Dumont, N.J., and wakes at 4 a.m. to be at the midtown gym where he trains clients, gives a pass (and homework) to motivated clients who can’t get in from far away, but, he said, those truly motivated to achieve their fitness goals “show up regardless.”
But anyone commuting by car faces legitimate dangers in inclement weather, noted Celeste Gertsen, a Port Jefferson psychologist who believes suburbanites deserve etiquette amnesty for weather-related cancellations.
Gersten said she doesn’t charge her patients for missed sessions unless they cancel repeatedly. “I understand!” she said, explaining she lives in Stony Brook, L.I., where residents are held hostage by unplowed roads and may be unable to reach the end of their driveways. “Even the buses stink out here! Things just aren’t set up well!” Besides, she advised, “if you’re flexible with other people, they’ll be flexible with you.”