Today's snow predictions aside, nobody, but nobody is anxious for a repeat of Feb. 11 (just two Fridays ago) when most of metro Washington froze in its tracks.
Federal officials, not to mention the area's 342,000 civil servants, hope that Uncle Sam never has a repeat of the Friday Follies, when thousands of employes stamped into work just in time to be told to go home because it was snowing.
None of the officials who set snow policy for the government has voluntarily fallen on his sword because of what happened that fateful day.
The official line is that the government did advise workers that a "late arrival/liberal annual leave" policy was in effect.
In English that means workers who came in late because of the snow would not be charged annual leave, and those who didn't want to risk coming in were encouraged to take a vacation day.
The result was mass confusion.
In most agencies, workers who came in and were then sent home were told they would be paid for the entire eight-hour day with no charge being made against their annual leave.
The Office of Personnel Management advised agencies that employes who didn't come in, even if they were already on sick leave or annual leave, should be charged only four hours of annual leave time for missing the entire eight-hour day.
The decision didn't seem to please anybody.
Workers who said they couldn't make it in (or would have been crazy to try) are unhappy at being charged half a day of annual leave.
And workers who came in complained that the "lenient" treatment of the no-shows was a slap in the face to those who reported for duty. Many callers said the next time it snows they are turning over and going back to sleep.
Ironically, most workers who are considered "essential" got docked for the entire day if they didn't come in--no matter what the circumstances.
Only school children, ski buffs and middle-aged persons suffering from arrested development pray for another big snowfall today.
But if we get it, this is what is likely to happen:
* You may hear on the radio or TV that the government is closed except for essential personnel.
That is unlikely but it could happen.
* More than likely you will hear that a "late arrival/liberal annual leave" policy is in effect.
OPM's Executive Assistant Director Patrick S. Korten explains why the government is reluctant to shut down:
"Here is the liberal leave policy and why we use it. Only about half the federal workforce works downtown.
"Many are well outside the downtown area . . . and do not have to commute using main roadways. Our problem is that if we tell everybody not to come to work . . . those people who live close to the office who can make it in won't come in. We don't get any work done. We have to keep certain things open. But we make it an independent judgment, if you can't make it in don't come in."
If there is another big snow, don't expect the government to grant no-shows administrative leave like it did following the Feb. 11 blizzard. The OPM got too much flak from employes who came in and also from some personnel directors who wanted to take a much harder line with no-shows.