Another piddling snowfall. Another huge shutdown. Another round of merciless mocking.
This is Washington’s winter weather cycle, as predictable as partisanship and twice as bruising.
The Monday night storm, a powderball that delivered two to six inches of snow to the area, shuttered schools, stuttered Metro, halted bus service and brought the federal government to its knees.
Then the eye-rolling began. Nowhere more so than among those with Boston ties.
“If DC had the snow Boston did, we’d be shut down until June,” tweeted Ben Goodman, 25, a New England native and Red Sox fan who now lives in the District.
It’s safe to say that our friends to the north were not impressed with our snow emergency. Boston is bending under the weight of 95.7 inches of snow so far this winter. Almost five feet of snow has dropped there in February alone. If snow was sand, everyone in Boston would be dead.
So Bostonians are not particularly feeling our pain.
“I would say, ‘Man up,’ ” Andy Husbands said with a laugh. “You gotta deal with it. This is life, right?”
Husbands owns Tremont 647, an American bistro in Boston’s South End. In 19 years, the restaurant has shut down just five times. This winter’s unrelenting weather has yet to close the restaurant’s doors.
“I’m looking out at six- to seven-feet-tall snowbanks,” Husbands said Tuesday. “I’m telling you, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is beyond compare. It’s not just one storm. It’s been the brutality of one storm after another storm. There’s nowhere to walk. There’s nowhere to park. There’s just nowhere to put the snow.”
But Husbands has stayed open. “We’re a neighborhood restaurant. You don’t just get the good times. You get this, too.”
“You really have to give it to Boston, because people here are real troupers.”
Some perspective, old-school NBA-style: Boston is within Larry Bird’s size 13 shoe of its snowiest winter on record — the winter of 1995-1996, which saw 107.6 inches.
The District’s snow total for the season is 8.4 inches (approximately Muggsy Bogues’s shoe size).
Washingtonians’ winter weather wherewithal — or the lack of it — has long been fodder for debate between somewhat-defensive locals and often obnoxious interlopers from snowier Zip codes. But even lifelong residents sense a growing softness when it comes to dealing.
“Now we shut down everything for no reason,” Joe Jackson, 49, said as he shoveled the sidewalk in front of a convenience store in Northeast Washington on Tuesday morning. “When I was coming up, we’d go to school after a few inches of snow.”
Jackson was particularly irked at Metro’s decision-making.
“They’ve got 10-ton buses, and they can’t go through this little bit of stuff?”
Vice President Biden joked to a group of visitors from Boston yesterday that their stop in Washington during the four-inch snowstorm here was “like a trip to the Caribbean.”
“We overreact in D.C.,” said Darlene Mack, 61, who has lived in Washington all of her life. “We don’t know what to do with a little snow.”
What does she think Bostonians would think of Washington’s mini-snowfall shutdown?
“They’d think we punks.”
Washingtonians have been called as much before, of course.
President Obama famously mocked the District’s winter readiness in 2009 when schools were canceled because of snow and ice.
“As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled,” he said.
Obama went on to say: “We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town.”
Apparently, that presidential effort also ended in gridlock.
Rep. Gerry E. Connolly (D-Va.) understands differences between Washington and Boston. Born and raised in Boston before he left for college in Chicago, Connolly has called Northern Virginia home for the past 43 years. Still, the years he’s spent here have not made the region’s snow unreadiness any easier to fathom.
“Snowfall is something one kind of expects in certain months of the year,” Connolly said. “And we always find it challenging here, and I’ve never quite understood fully why that is, but it is.
Whether it’s getting it plowed, going to work or whether the schools are open or not, it’s always controversial, and it’s always a challenge in what would be, where I come from, fairly routine.”
Connolly admits, however, that he has fully acclimated to the region’s weather.
“I have become a true Virginian,” he said. “I don’t like snow except on Christmas Eve and on mountainsides.”
And he’s not above taunting family members in Massachusetts.
“I do love periodically calling my relatives in Boston and telling them how pleasant the weather is here,” Connolly said. “Their winter is a good month longer than ours, and that’s one of the joys of living here.”
Regional expectations about what’s acceptable during storms also differs greatly. When the T, Boston’s main public transportation lifeline, shut down for a day earlier this month after a heavy snow, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) criticized the decision.
“We’ve been frustrated, disappointed with the performance of the T,’’ Baker told the Boston Globe. “The public transportation system has to work. Let’s face it: This can’t happen again.” Last week, after the governor’s public rebuke, the T’s director resigned.
By contrast, Metro canceled bus service in Washington until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Metrorail operated on a limited Saturday schedule. It had also suspended MetroAccess, which provides door-to-door service for the disabled. Local officials have not voiced any unhappiness with the decisions.
Some of what Boston is going through is completely foreign to Washingtonians. When they shovel out their cars in South Boston, Kevin O’Brien and his neighbors aren’t allowed to put the snow on the street or the sidewalk. They have to take it, shovel by shovel, to the mound of snow on the corner that has now grown 15 feet high. Some people have not bothered to dig their cars out at all. They’ll wait until the snow is gone.
In June, perhaps.
“It’s weird,” said O’Brien, 33, who has lived in South Boston since 2004. “It seems like the weather is the only thing people talk about now. ‘When’s the next storm coming?’ “Did you dig out your car?’ “Are you going on vacation?’ It’s getting kind of tiring.”
As for Washington’s struggle with a four-inch pummeling?
“I kind of get it,” O’Brien said. “It’s not like you guys experience it all that often. . . . I have a little bit of sympathy. But it’s very thin.”
While Washington may always be the butt of weather jokes from those in hardier climes, there’s evidence that not all Bostonians are as snow-savvy as they’d like to think. The snow has piled up so high in parts of the city that some residents have been unable to resist answering the question: I wonder what it would feel like to jump out of my window into that huge drift?
That led Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) to issue a warning he likely never imagined having to utter.
“I’m asking people to stop their nonsense right now. These are adults jumping out windows,” Walsh said on Monday, according to the Boston Herald. “It’s a foolish thing to do, and you could kill yourself.”
And Boston is mocking us?