Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
a television company which executive produces programs and consults
with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc.
is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television
in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the
Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery
Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery
Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted
Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation
Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
March 22, 2007
Three events conspired this past week to give me a pause,
a space from the electronic and social demands of my life.
Theres a storm acomin! was the
refrain from one of my favorite clients as he suggested I
cancel a planned trip to Stamford, CT. last Friday. It was
a wise suggestion; a powerful storm blew across New York State.
It kissed the city and belted Columbia County. There was just
more than a dusting of snow in the city while Claverack was
buried under 22 of snow that drifted up to four feet
From Friday around two until Saturday night at ten, I was
stranded in an island of snow, my driveway [and car] buried.
Sensing what was about to come, I went to the grocery store
before the storm and stocked up, purchasing for myself every
conceivable treat I thought I might want.
For thirty six hours I was stranded by the snow. I was reveling
in the thought that I could catch up on all the programs I
had recorded on my DVR. Unfortunately as the snow fell my
DVR died, losing everything that was cached in its hard drive.
And speaking of hard drives, the one in my laptop died too.
So there I was, bereft of electronic pleasures and stranded
It gave me time to think, to indulge in that most antediluvian
of pastimes reading. I listened to music. I thought.
On NPR I heard that we, as average consumers, are assaulted
by 6,000 marketing messages a day. SIX THOUSAND! It was an
astounding but somehow unsurprising number. And there I was,
trapped in Claverack Cottage, withdrawn from the assault,
caught in a self-revelatory silence. I was forced to take
a retreat, a silent retreat and in the silence I found communion
with myself, my soul and with nature. On the creek, despite
the pelting snow, the hundred or so geese that call my creek
their home resided noisily during the snowfall. All in all,
it was a bucolic scene and made for contemplation. I was forced
to spend quality time with myself.
It was intoxicating. Spared the marketing messages [and I
recognize that world of marketing and messaging is what has
earned my living all these years] I could listen to my self.
I found myself seriously wondering what it is that I think
about this Iraq adventure and to contrast my attitude toward
the soldiers of Viet Nam and the soldier who are serving in
Iraq. There is a distinct difference in attitudes; and that
is the result of a more mature America and that this
war is not being fought by draftees. If it were, the streets
would be swelled with protesters or at least I think.
I found myself thinking about New York City, which is slowly
emerging from its 9/11 mourning the event that set
all these strange forces into motion. The trauma is beginning
to recede; people are less jittery, confidence is returning
to the streets of Gotham.
It is a city that will never be the same; it is also a city
that is emerging from its trauma and that is good.
Shut off from the torrent of marketing messages, I found I
was having a dialogue with myself, a conversation with my
own self assessing the importance of things and
feeling, somehow, more myself than I did before the storm,
the crash of my computer hard drive and the failure of my
It reminded me that there was merit in retreat,
the removal of ones self from the normal
and the sound of the madding crowd. It reminded me of the
value of retreat, so that we could hear our own souls speaking.
I highly recommend it.