Friday, December 01, 2006


Amazing how a little snow brings out the best in people. In case you couldn't pick up on the tone there, that was sacrasm. As you probably know, the midwest is getting hammered by its first big snowstorm of the season and, predictably, people are losing their minds. Most of it has to do with getting around...and the fact that you can't really get around. At least not with the ease you normally would - which is a joke in itself considering congestion on the roads these days.

This morning I woke up and looked out my 20th floor window at the Chicago skyline. It was shrouded in a white haze, like someone had just shook up our snowglobe and set it back down on the table. As I type this from the comfort of my desk, I watch the flurries turn to flakes, crisscrossing in mid air in their relentless assault on everything glass, concrete, and steel. Surprisingly, my drive in to the office was uneventful. Took me a few extra minutes to make the drive - so around 20 minutes instead of the typical 15...and only because I was driving slower than I normally drive (which many would consider slow to begin with). Even though the roads were relatively clear, I couldn't help but detect drivers were on edge. I heard a lot more car horns. I saw people making ill-advised decisions. A guy turning from the 90/94 off-ramp onto Lake Street nudged a pedestrian, who slammed his fist on the hood as he walked by. The window of the vehicle rolled down and some words were exchanged. It was not a pleasant morning commute.

And then what happens is that everyone shows up to work grumpy. Instead of everyone being thrilled that it's Friday, people are frustrated and anxious and tense. The snow is calming to watch - but if you have to deal with it in any fashion, it can be quite stressful. I parked in the garage across the street from my office this morning - which I never do. I figured it was worth the $9 to keep the car dry and off the street...and to guarantee A.) it wouldn't get snowed in, and B.) it would start at 5pm when I leave.

And so here I sit. Watching the snow fall. Barely able to see the buildings across the street for this veil of streaming cotton. Wondering how long it will take me to get home tonight. But I accept it as something I can't change - and why would I want to? Snow is part of the beauty of life. Weather is a big part of the human experience. We give it a huge chunk of time on the nightly news. We allocate space on the back pages of newspapers. We discuss it with strangers when nothing else comes to mind. Climate is something people of a region have in common - it should bring us closer together, not whip us into a blustery frenzy. Snow is our common enemy today. a beautiful, majestic foe with billions of tentacles. But she can be defeated - if we arm ourselves with peace, love, and Gap.

Damn, that commercial is stuck in my head.

Shit break.

1 comment:

slskenyon said...

I've heard a lot about your weather recently, and I can't say that I envy you. If you want to picture the New England version of that experience, envision lots of wired, caffine withdrawn people driving through it as if it were a perfectly clear day, and you've got your basic highway experience.