I am sitting here on the couch wishing I was back in my Yafo flat, in walking distance to the beach. Instead I am caught in the middle of a massive winter storm that has made travel across the country difficult and driven the temps down to zero.
I grew up in weather like this and so it has prompted some comparisons. For perspective, where I am at received 2-4 inches of snow and a good deal of ice. The ice is what really creates havoc. At least it wasn’t like the ice storm four years ago where I went without supplies and power for about a week. That really sucked as you can imagine.
My dad nearly had an accident on the highway yesterday trying to get back to town before the worse hit. A car changed lanes, caught the side … well actually it caught the mirror and bent it back. They both pulled over and there was no damage – amazingly. What are the odds right? It was like the mirror saved the cars from side-swiping each other.
Today I spent the afternoon shoveling driveways and pushing strangers out of ditches. In front of our house a teen turned at the crossroad and almost slid off into the ditch. He got scared and left the car there. His elderly grandfather in our neighborhood drove up to see if he could move the car. The old man could barely walk. It isn’t unusual here for grandparents to be raising the kids. I was out shoveling and so offered to help. I managed to get the car back on the roadway but the car wasn’t going anywhere with the iced over roads. They ended up calling a tow truck to take them the last quarter mile.
But two things happened that made me wonder what people think sometimes. When pushing the car, my neighbor – who I grant is pretty much a jerk every day – not only did not offer to help but backed out of his barely missing the two vehicles on the road. At the time, I was in the road, giving a third car directions. A young lady (caregiver I think) was trying to reach a house and because the road was block didn’t know how to get around. While I am in the middle of the road the neighbor speeds by barely missing me. In the icy conditions, it wasn’t the safest thing he could have done.
Then the teen who got stuck left his grandfather alone to wait on the tow truck. And I was thinking, dude, you could’ve hung around. I am sure the grandfather told him to go, it’d be alright but it didn’t seem right. Where I grew up, I remember two winters with major blizzards almost every weekend. We had snowmobiles and so the kids in the neighborhood took the grocery orders for neighbors and kept everyone fed. We also shoveled driveways for people – including a couple neighbors that we weren’t so crazy about but the theory was in certain situations you put feelings aside and lend a hand. Apparently, that theory is lost.
My favorite comment is from the Weather Channel which when interviewing people in Dallas – where many are without power and the city is iced over – found a lady layered from head to toe and who was most worried about her swimming pool. She wasn’t worried about people eating, staying warm, the homeless and travelers stranded, but her swimming pool because of the pipes. Definitely a first world mindset.
There is a lost civility to a degree here. I can’t put my finger on it. Like last night, with Mandela’s death, I saw people tweeting, using his death to score political points. One person criticized Obama for his comments because of his actions on the Palestinian issue. The only thing that proved to me was that the tweeter really didn’t get what Mandela was about because he sure would never have condoned that behavior. The death of someone really isn’t the place to be scoring political points, that’s my view anyway.
So, I sit here with the fire going after a day of shoveling, pushing and de-icing. I will pour myself a drink, thaw out, and while dreaming of Yafo, I will settle for watching the movie Casablanca for the 1000th time since it comes on in a couple hours. Hopefully tomorrow the sun brings warmer thoughts my way.