All Snow, All The Time!
Its Thursday evening, late, and my column is due in
the morning. And its
been such a week! We awoke Monday morning, Presidents
Day, to a clear day
up at Claverack Cottage, attempting to decide which afternoon
train we would
take back to the city.
I phoned, innocently, the taxi company we use to take us
to the train.
Mat, they said, were in the process
of calling all the cabs in! Dont
you know whats going on? The weather! The weather!
Scurrying to the television, I punched up The Weather Channel
that the storm of the century was blowing in upon us and the
rapidly closing down. When we went to bed, there was only
supposed to be an
inch or four of snow up in Claverack but by the time I made
the call to the
taxi company the promise was twelve to eighteen inches.
Don Hoke, the man who built our bookshelves, who watches
the house, who
comes by twice a week to make sure we havent been burgled
and that all the
various services have been done, came to our aid and drove
us to the train
Buying our tickets at the window, the train stationmaster,
who now knows who
I am, responded to my question about how it was going with
a shake of his
head worthy of a Dickens character. Bad. Bad.
Theyve cancelled all the
buses into the city from the ski resorts. They think theyre
all going to
get on the train. Its gonna be hell, man. Its
gonna be hell, man.
Well, we got back to the city on the train. By the time we
got to New York
there was a good twelve inches of snow on the ground. Wet,
heavy, ugly snow
that reminded me, unpleasantly, of Minnesota. No taxis from
Penn Station in
this weather. Home by subway, with a half-mile hike through
the mounds back
to the new apartment.
Oh my god but was it a relief!
We went from the all Iraq, all the time, Channels to the
All Snow, All the
Time Channels! I watched religiously. It was so exciting to
watch a news
channel and have something on besides the upcoming [and we
war with Iraq.
All snow! All the time! Oh, it was lovely!
It was a respite from the road the world seems to be on and
it was embraced
by everyone I know. Everyone was so relieved to have an opportunity
forget the Iraq situation and focus in on something as innocent
snowstorm that brought the East Coast to a standstill
Tonight, I was at a meeting. Before it began I circulated,
We talked about news. Everyone there was delighted with the
because it meant a break from Countdown Iraq! Iraqi Showdown!
Or any of
the other marketing phrases that have been attached to the
happening with Saddam Hussein
As we were chatting, more than one of us spoke about the
fact that their
primary source of news was the BBC.
Thank god, said one, for BBC America and PBS!
Or: just the facts, maam. Just the facts!
The two most popular newscasts in New York right now, among
a certain group,
are the BBC and NYC1, the local cable news. And theyre
popular because all
they do is tell the facts and leave the interpretation to
Everyone else has become, it seems, the barker for a war
we dont seem to
want but seem to be about to fight.
While the snow was beginning to fall over the East Coast,
people around the world joined together in marches against
war. Now, by my
rough calculation [and remember that the only D
I ever received was in
math] thats 0.05% of the worlds population.
Excuse me! Thats pretty impressive. One half of one
percent of the worlds
population went out of their homes and declared themselves
Now I wasnt there. I didnt march but I certainly
am against war. So add
all of us into the equation and you have, what? 1% of the
population? 2%? How about if we subtract all the people in
the world who
dont know what is going on? Then do we have 5%?
[Okay, understand, I want Saddam Hussein gone. Gone! Gone!]
Noble goal; wrong methodology. I think its good weve
surrounded him with
troops. I think the noose effect is good but I dream of all
that will die if we really go to war.
My life is shaped by an experience as a child in Honduras,
ten-year-old die because he didnt have the medications
he needed. I was
there. I was witness to it. I dont know that childs
name but as long as I
live he lives with me.
Everything is shaped from that. Everything I am is from that.
And that is what will happen a thousand fold if we go to
war with Iraq.
Innocents will die.
We are weary of innocents dying. All of us, I hope.
So is the rest of the world. Thats why we were so happy
to have to all
snow, all the time! Snow is so easy to deal with compared
with all the
other things in front of us.