Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Job

Vermont evening/photo by author

Once again, we’ve survived Armageddon in the form of a “blizzard” named Juno. By my reckoning, this makes three or four “storms of the century” that we’ve survived. And, we still have more than 85 years to go!

Last night, I received a message from the mayor of the city where I work, basically saying that he was shutting the little city down, and reporting that the county was closing all roads at 11 p.m. Then New York State closed its roads. 

We the people, in our little 10-unit hamlet in Greenwich, CT parked our vehicles up the road in the protected Town Hall garage overnight, illegally, and went home to drink and pray by the fire. There we hovered, hoping our wood would outlast calamitous Juno and that we might see our other friends and loved ones again.

There hadn’t been anything like this in about 11 or 12 months since the last end of the world. 

At 6 a.m. this morning, I could barely bring myself to peek out the window. When I did, my first thought was, “Oh, the storm hasn’t even hit yet.” Wrong. There were about eight inches of snow around, four of which had already been there from an earlier storm, and the winds seemed like normal late January winds.

The local correspondents  on cable channel 12 had already gone into a more understated frenzy mode. A ticker at the bottom of the screen declared that everything was closed, which made one wonder why we don’t just list what’s open instead. The storm’s center passed much further to the east than predicted, and eastern Long Island and central Connecticut bore the brunt. But, a reporter on the ground in that brunt was standing in six inches of snow on an already plowed street, amidst vehicles in driveways that barely needed dusting. 

Does the term “snow job” come to mind?
Real Juneau

The city that never sleeps shut its subways, and the commuter lines that feed it were still.

Another reporter cruising downtown New Canaan, CT. stated that it looked like a ghost town, while the camera showed fairly clear roads and about six inches of snow around. She forgot to say that all the roads were officially closed, the schools were closed, and people were told to stay home or face possible annihilation by snowflakes speeding down from space at 1.5 m.p.h. Duck!

The so-called “Greatest Generation” is passing rapidly now. These are the ones who lived through the Depression and World War II. What do they make of us, quivering while we gaze with gullible curiosity into our…phones? 

Even I can recall the seriousness of air raids in elementary school where we ducked underneath our little desks to avoid being harmed by nuclear fallout. And, one day in October 1962, I went off to high school on 16th Street in New York City wondering if I would ever see my family again, depending on what Comrade K. and President K. did about those Cuban missals.

And, there I was in my Juno-bunker with leftover she-crab stew and a bottle of J&B.

At about noon, the sun came out, and it became increasingly apparent that we would all survive this latest test. The inevitable death, taxes, and Kardashian Tales awaited us.

We have lofty national goals, like making some sense out of healthcare and fixing education. We roam the world making other places safe for democracy. But, I’m beginning to think that we might do better to concentrate on getting this weather thing right, so that a snowstorm can be just that, a natural part of a northeastern winter.

photo by author
The new “content” makers have turned the weather into scripted reality (distorted) TV.
What does it mean when we cannot even tell the truth about the weather out of fear that advertisers will be displeased if we do? And, what does it mean when we continue to pretend that what didn’t just happen really did, so that we will tune in as believers next time?

But, as the Cuban philosopher Ricky Ricardo used to say, “Maybe Juno more than I know.”

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter Strategies

photos 1,2,3,7©twmcdermott2015