At least there will be one jolly thing about hell: Everyone will be standing around talking about how they got there.

Coming to the office yesterday, you would think you were in the Klondike. Twenty Jack Londons in the same elevator. Twenty different sagas, to be retold all day, with subtle escalations.

At Connecticut and K, a distinguished graying gentleman, bundled to the ears, stepped off the D-4 bus - and fell flat on his face in eight inches of icewater. He got up, shook himself like a retriever, and without a word marched to the other side of the street. Where he flagged a cab and headed back home.

His office wouldn't get to hear about that particular adventure. Not that day. But then, stories are a dime a dozen.

". . . and I looked out the window and I could see nothing but white except for these tiny black dots traveling in a horizontal line. And then I realized they were the tips of car aerials . . ."

"That's nothing. I had to shovel 40 feet just to get to the garage. And then I had to shovel 100 feet of driveway. . ."

"Sissy stuff! Our bus got stuck and we all had to get out and push! Even the standees!"

There is the guy who skied to work. The guy who snowhoed. The executive secretary who hiked six miles in knee-deep drifts and got there ahead of everybody. The Old Hand who was a kid in Maine 50 years ago and keeps saying, 'Agh, this nothing'. Why you shoulda seen. . ." The girl who sank to mid-thigh in slush when she stepped off a curb.

An the astonishing clothes: Ski boots. Hiking boots. Waders. Galoshes. Rubber-bottemed hightops. Jodhpurs. Corduroys. Stretch pants. Aviator jackets. Mackinaws. Woodmen's shirts. Siren suits. Turtlenecks. . . We look like an L.L Bean catalog around here.

Even more astonishing are those few who seem to have just stepped out of a department store window, in their shiny oxfords or spike heels, their unsplattered trousers, their sparkling fresh shirts. Where do these people come from?

It is fun to go to work on a snowy day.The bus is full of chatterers. Everybody talks. Everybody is friendly. And at the office, it goes on all day. People perch on each other's desks, boots dangling, and tell their stories. Strangers nod and smile in the corridor. The phone calls from those who couldn't make it are taken with a debonair cheerfulness that implies: We'll manage very well without you, you poor inferior sod.

And nobody does a lick of work all day.

In fact, the only ones who really suffer on a snowy day are the families. Because they have to listen to the saga of getting to work - AND the saga of getting home.