Don’t Look Back

Closest thing in the house to a pillar of salt.

Closest thing in the house to a pillar of salt.

Art Child and I have discovered the joys of Netflix, and marathon-watching tv series.  Earlier this week, we finished Buffy.  I know it was hugely popular in its prime, but I had never seen it.  I wasn’t much of a tv watcher until the last 7? 10? years.  I’ll be honest, through the viewings of the first few seasons it was mostly me reading while Art Child watched.  With the later seasons it caught my interest more.  I don’t think I’d say this is a must-see series, but it was fun, and while I thought Buffy’s character was pretty much a yawn, I value the message of girl/female power and I did enjoy the way Spike’s character was developed.

Why am I talking about this?  Because it occurred to me if this was a book–or more accurately, a book series, it would be Young Adult.  That demographic of fiction that has experienced such a huge explosion of devoted readers (and writers) but holds absolutely no interest for me.  So if Buffy was a written series, would I have enjoyed it? I don’t think so.  If a book starts angsting in a way that makes my mind wander, I close the book.  If I was watching this show without Art Child, I don’t think I’d have made it past the first season.

Between spending a lot of time, thought, and in conversation about the how and why of Fifty Shades of Grey being such a hit, watching this tv series, and watching Nerd Child navigate his junior year of high school, I’m thinking about this popularity of Young Adult fiction with adult readers.  Regardless of what angle I use to approach, my overriding thought is, why?

I want to be clear, I am not bashing young adult fiction or young adults.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like teenagers.  It’s pretty damned cool watching my kiddos and their friends navigate the world, figure themselves out, develop their interests, values, priorities, and become adults. Young adult fiction can be light and fun or serious and thoughtful, general fiction to romance to sci-fi and fantasy, same as children’s fiction or adult.  Of the first two novels that jump out out me when thinking of novels I read and loved this year, one had a woman in her forties as the main character, the other is written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy. But what makes young adult fiction young adult isn’t just the age of the protagonist, it’s the focus, the grappling with becoming, discovering who you are, losing your innocence and finding your place in the world–whether that world is in the South Bronx, a suburb in the midwest, or the planet XCTHRGH.

When I was a teen I read and loved Forever, by Judy Blume, and the works of Paul Zindel–My Darling, My Hamburger comes to mind.  I wished there were more of these books and authors then, and I’m glad there are more for today’s teens.  I haven’t been a teenager in a long time. Tastes change, interests change.

Being a teenager is hard. Dealing with high school is hard. I guess I think about it a lot because I’m-the-mama-that’s-why. Fun as it can be, parenting teens is hard. As an adult, I know this stage doesn’t last forever, though it feels that way. As an adult, I know things change, and growth and maturity have more to do with resilience and flexibility than anything else. I also know there’re a lot of pitfalls at this stage, pitfalls that can throw someone off course for the next 10-20 years (or more), pitfalls that if handled well can set someone up for a better life. Different choices make for some different challenges.  Both of my boys went to high powered boarding schools on scholarship–one long graduated, one attending currently. It was a decision Husband and I made because we wanted them to have every opportunity possible, and we believed they could each handle the workload, responsibility, and independence.  Along with these amazing opportunities and education is the early knowledge of exactly where you and your family sit on the socio-economic food chain, no parent on hand to provide chicken soup when you get sick, or help you out and run a load of laundry for you when you’re in the midst of finals. Did we make the right decisions?  I think so, I hope so, but I still question it every day. As I recently told Man Child, the worst kept secret is that none of us know what we’re doing as parents, we’re all doing the best we can, trying to avoid the out and out worst decisions and not fuck up too badly.

Positive and negative, there’s built in conflict, drama, and emotion with teens.  These are also musts with fiction to make it interesting.  But honestly, for me, mama-ing teens is enough.  Are there things I miss about being a teenager? I suppose.  I miss that oddly emphatic combination of hope, swagger, faith and conviction that my adult life would be what I wanted it to be, complete with multi-book publishing contracts and boobs that would remain firm and resilient forever.  Can I look back and recognize poor decisions I made, points when I wish I had gone right instead of left? Yup. Would I actually want to go back in time to do so?  Not a shot in hell.

And I’m not looking to regularly settle into the head of a teenaged main character when I have me time for reading.  An occasional foray, maybe. I don’t need the featured protagonists of novels I read to be direct reflections of me, i.e.: women who are forty thousand years old living broke urban lifestyles. I have friends of different backgrounds, ages, and experiences, so why limit my novels? I do need the protagonists and their conflicts to hold my interest, and for me, most fictional teens do not.  When I read it, I loved White Oleander, by Janet Fitch.  I wonder if it was published today, instead of in 1999, if it would be shelved as young adult. I think it’s likely, and I would have missed it. Yet I still don’t “get” what is it about these books–well written as many of them are–that is so compelling for many adults in their thirties, forties, and beyond that people are specifically seeking them out.  I don’t often feel I have much to look forward to, but looking backwards isn’t my answer. Except, of course, for the music.  I’m never growing out of the music I loved as a teen.

 

Ouch, Sloth-Style

Admit it, looks tempting.

Admit it, looks tempting.

I’m still adjusting to life with a dishwasher again.  This means that last night when I decided I was hungry and would make a sandwich, I planned said sandwich with the idea of using no dishes and slapping it together as quickly as possible so I’d be finished before the commercial break was over.

But the tomato looked so beautiful, I needed a couple of slices. Maybe not so much the tomato as the thought of the salt I’d now be justified in adding. Being lazy, in a hurry, and now jonesing at the prospect of Himalayan sea salt, I skipped the cutting board.  Picked the tomato up and began slicing.  I do things like this all the time (as long as Art Child isn’t watching, because I don’t want her to think this is a safe idea), never a problem.

Where, oh where have the band-aids gone?

Where, oh where have the band-aids gone?

 

I sliced right into my thumb.  Most little kitchen mishaps don’t involve more than rinsing my finger under some cold water for a couple of minutes, maybe some pressure with a paper towel. Most. Not a terrible cut, but in a bad spot, I bled for a good hour and had to toss the tomato.  Then I had to find the band-aids.  Applying pressure as I searched, I found gauze pads sized for cardio-thorassic surgery, plumbing tape, ace bandages, corn removers, face masks, dental floss.  Gave up, changed the paper towel–four times–threw a couple of slices of cheese on a piece of bread and finished watching the Housewives.

Went to bed, and saw the box of band-aids blowing me a big old Bronx cheer from Husband’s desk.

Today is a water change day for the tank.  I can’t put it off any more, as it is I’m two weeks behind.  Salt water is good for open wounds, right?

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The clowns were so cute this morning, cuddling in their little corner of the tank.  Now I’ll mess up their world by changing out water, filter media, and scraping the glass.

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Ramblings of a Day Off

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Oh, Sunday.  It isn’t always true, but today is a blissful day of nothing needs to be done.  So obviously, my best plan was to get up and stand at the stove to make 8000 pancakes.  That’s ok, because I’m still in my pajamas.  9 in the morning, in my pj’s with saltwater mixing for tomorrow’s water change, I must be dreaming.  My back tells me I’m not.

It’s also Man Child’s last day at home before he heads back up to school for *whee* his last semester of college.

On my way home from taking the girl to her art class yesterday morning, I took some photos.  For the first time, it occurred to me why I set so many of my stories at this time of year.  Let’s face it, late winter in New York–not sexy or invigorating, not pretty or enticing.  The dominating colors are gray and gloom.  The season of train delays and wind tunnels, when I walk with my head down, hood eliminating all peripheral vision and calculate the odds of getting clipped in the head by a chunk of ice falling from a building.

A good time of year for hibernating, spending the day without getting dressed, thinking about what we do and why we do it.  Because I have this ridiculous compulsion to make up characters and write them down, it dovetails nicely with the introspection.

Yes indeed, I do have a new character who’s been knocking at the back of my brain.  At the moment he’s barely more than raw, a yummy mix of foolish and ludicrous.  I may have to bring him forward soon, see how he can take shape.

For now, I have filthy-New York-in-February photos for you.  Enjoy. And have a pancake while you’re at it–since I took this photo 20 minutes ago, my kitchen was apparently invaded by pigeons, and there aren’t many left.  I’m going back to my beach house in Hawaii fantasy.

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Caution: Slippery

mrs fringe:

I’ve never reposted one of my posts before, but I believe this is SO important, and today is the day the movie officially opens.

Originally posted on mrsfringe:

Pretty, isn't it? Pretty, isn’t it?

Even lovelier close up. Even lovelier close up.

Now let’s change the angle. Same morning, same storm.

Ice encased trees, beautiful. The reality of walking and driving on those icy streets, something else entirely. Ice encased trees, beautiful. The reality of navigating these icy streets, something else entirely.

No, I’m not really going to talk about the weather again. There’s a lot in the world of pop culture I haven’t read/seen/heard because it doesn’t catch my interest. 50 Shades of Grey? Uninteresting, I’ve passed tons of articles, tweets, posts, and discussions without so much as an I-wonder-what-the-fuss-is-about. But then I was on Twitter the other day and saw a link to this blog post. Women and domestic violence? This is interesting to me, worth talking about again.  So here I am, late to the 50 Shades party.  I wasn’t going to talk about and pass judgement on something I hadn’t read, so I downloaded and read the book.

Oy.

Some writers are more about the writing.  If the writing…

View original 1,002 more words

You Move Too Fast

Just kickin' down the cobble stones

Just kickin’ down the cobble stones

Feeling groovy yet?

Last week was hectic for me.  Lots of running back and forth combined with crappy weather. The cherry on top involved the delays and rerouting of the train Saturday morning while I tried to get Art Child to her art class.  On time was blown by the time the train arrived, it was a scramble and bonus cab fare to get her there before her class left for their field trip. Luckily it started snowing after I did my shopping, so by the time I walked into the lobby of my building, the handles of the grocery bag tore off.  I didn’t really need the entire dozen eggs, did I?

I declared yesterday a day of rest.  For me, anyway.  Prepped breakfast the night before, and Husband ordered and picked up a birthday cake for Man Child’s girlfriend.  Also, the night before.  If you haven’t ever had Dominican cake, I recommend it highly.  Extra heavy, often sold in terms of how many pounds (as opposed to inches) and yet delicious.

Over the top in every way, but worth it.

Over the top in every way, and so worth it.

These can be found and purchased in certain neighborhood bakeries, but the best ones come from an abuelita’s kitchen.  The drawback to this is they often aren’t available in the summer–these little inner city kitchens get hot, and you’re getting whatever decorations and colors they feel are appropriate.  Oh yeah, sometimes they don’t have anything to contain it.

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Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Yup, Husband walked in Saturday night with a 7 pound, 26″ round frilled and frosted cake. No box. I don’t have a container large enough.  I checked the cake domes, my Tupperware cupcake transporter-thingie, I even checked the Thanksgiving roasting pan. Needless to say, it sat on Husband’s desk overnight, and I encouraged an early cake cutting in the morning.  “Hurry up and finish your hash browns, Miss Music–it’s time for your cake!”  

The best part is the guayaba in between the layers. Some misguided souls think pineapple is an acceptable alternative.  Trust Mama Fringe, guava is the way to go.

I stayed in pj’s for most of the day, consumed enough sugar to get me off the couch and down to the laundry room–did only enough laundry to be sure clean underwear can be found this week. A perfectly slow Sunday crowned by the divine absurdism of Shameless.  Appropriate, no?

One More for the Road, or in this case, Three More

I suppose if you look really hard, a theme could be found on my bookshelf.

I suppose if you look really hard, a theme could be found on my bookshelf.

When we moved into this apartment, I packed away many of my books, and donated many more.  These are what’s left–not including cookbooks.

Followers have been listening to me whine about my writing (non)life, and my plan to take stock and move forward.  One of the ideas I was playing with was the thought of self-publishing short stories in groups of three or so.  Since I knew less than zero about self pubbing, I asked on the writers’ board.  I now know about zero, just enough to confirm that I am indeed too lazy and too broke to pursue self publishing at this time.  I’ve never done much in terms of submitting my short fiction. Most have never been subbed anywhere, the few that were sent out once and then filed away with the inevitable rejection letter that arrived a mere 9, 12, 15 months later.

Apparently my sanity plunged along with this week’s temperatures, so I sent off stories to literary  magazines, complete with crappy cover letters.  What the hell do you write on a cover letter when you’re unpublished and have nothing to say about yourself that ties in with said stories in any way?  “Mrs Fringe here, checking in with ovaries o’ steel.”

Why steel?  Because I will only submit to markets that (potentially) pay.  Doesn’t have to be a lot, doesn’t have to be The Paris Review (no, I didn’t send anything to them), but it is my work.  I’ve seen a lot of quotes go past on my Twitter feed recently, having to do with art and writing for the pure love and satisfaction. Most of these quotes attributed to writers who have reached some measure of success, naturally.

Nope.  My words are mine. I spend time, I edit, I pace, I obsess, I rewrite. They’re work, and if I don’t value my words, why/how would I expect anyone else to do so?  If I meet someone and mention that I walk dogs, and they then ask me to walk their dog, it’s understood that this will be a paid walk.  It has nothing to do with whether or not I love dogs.  I can just imagine it, if you really loved animals, you’d be completely fulfilled picking up my dog’s shit in the rain, just for the love of it, and be thankful for the exposure. The reality of this philosophy is that my already slim odds of having a story accepted go down significantly–there aren’t a whole lot of paying lit mags, and they regularly publish prize winning, bestselling authors.  All self explanatory as to why, though I write and have written shorts on a regular basis through the years, I’ve rarely subbed/queried them.

I expect my sanity to return with the projected rising temps.  I hope.

And because it’s Friday, a few tank photos, white balance adjusted.

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Enjoy your Friday, Fringelings.  And when it’s last call tonight, tell your bartender drinks should be on him, for the love of it.

Caution: Slippery

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

Even lovelier close up.

Even lovelier close up.

Now let’s change the angle. Same morning, same storm.

Ice encased trees, beautiful. The reality of walking and driving on those icy streets, something else entirely.

Ice encased trees, beautiful. The reality of navigating these icy streets, something else entirely.

No, I’m not really going to talk about the weather again. There’s a lot in the world of pop culture I haven’t read/seen/heard because it doesn’t catch my interest. 50 Shades of Grey? Uninteresting, I’ve passed tons of articles, tweets, posts, and discussions without so much as an I-wonder-what-the-fuss-is-about. But then I was on Twitter the other day and saw a link to this blog post. Women and domestic violence? This is interesting to me, worth talking about again.  So here I am, late to the 50 Shades party.  I wasn’t going to talk about and pass judgement on something I hadn’t read, so I downloaded and read the book.

Oy.

Some writers are more about the writing.  If the writing is beautiful enough, the characters richly drawn, I don’t actually care if the story has plot holes the size of Toledo, I’ll cry at the end because I’m sorry to close the book. If the story is excellent, I’ll quickly stop noticing excessive adjectives and dialogue tags, the occasional POV inconsistency, because entertaining stories are fun.  Escapism means never having to get out the red pen, after all.  Because this novel has sold a gazillion copies, I expected there to be a point where I would get sucked into the story. By page 15 I was certain all the writing wisdom I’ve ever read must be a trick to keep unpublished writers unpublished. This isn’t just seasoned with adverbs, it’s downright encrusted. By page 20 I was wondering why nobody was taking this poor girl to the ER, she had flushed and blushed so many times surely she was having a stroke.

By the time I was a quarter of the way through I was pissed off.  Recently I saw something online saying a positive aspect of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that it opened a new world to women of a certain age.  (If you are one who believes this to be true, please do some homework and research the history of erotica.) In Walmart, woo hoo!   I didn’t think I cared if erotica is available next to the Charmin.  Go ahead and squeeze.

But I do care.  Because this is being touted as liberation (you, tender young thing, are really the one with the power since you’ve got a safe word–and once you’re uncuffed and ungagged you can go ahead and use it). Because you, beautiful young woman, can say no and leave the relationship anytime you want to–though our hero is likely to show up on your doorstep if you do–middle of the night and roommate be damned. Because this is being presented as a great love story.  Everyone knows real love involves stalking, right?  And if you use the word stalking two hundred times it’s definitely ok, hell, you can even laugh about it with your stalker.  Because nothing says I care about your well being like wanting to control what and when your partner eats. Oh, wait.  This is where we have sympathy for the hero, because it turns out he experienced real hunger as a child.  Plus, yanno, he’s handsome.  And rich.  Not just rich, uber-rich and powerful.  Before the age of thirty, so he can still get it up and fuck his partner “into submission” 10 times a night and another 8 times during the day.

I didn’t want to judge. Different strokes and all that. But in every scene where he hurts her, it’s presented as “not really” hurting her, because even though her mind said no, her body responded in a positive way, so she must like it.  And in every one of those scenes, I thought of the many instances where rape victims report feeling conflicted and wondering if they’re the guilty ones, because physiology is what it is, and sometimes the body responds.  This isn’t a story of sexual exploration, this is a story of abuse. When her friend/roommate is worried about her, and she’s afraid her roommate will say something to antagonize him, that’s a clear sign of an abusive relationship.

In the end, I think we’re supposed to admire her strength and brains.  Oh yes, of course she’s smart, we know this because she mentions having a high GPA thirty times. So smart that she finally realizes being hit with a belt really hurts–after she agrees to it, he’s done it, and she’s cried delicately on his shoulder. She’s so strong she walks away from him in the end (ok, she doesn’t quite walk away, she’s driven away by his driver/manservant/pimp who is so wonderful and discreet he never even mentions the instruments of torture in the so-called play room), and rejects his lifestyle, his lavish gifts, and his incredibly handsome face that has working class women everywhere fall immediately to their knees–while blushing, of course. This even though she isn’t incredibly rich.  She’s just an ordinary gal, who worked a part time job through college. Now she will have to suffer the pain of a three bedroom condo shared with her by her wealthy roommate, a college degree, the publishing job she wanted, and family and friends who love her but don’t stalk, humiliate, or physically hurt her.

For a little while, anyway.  Since this is actually book 1 of a trilogy, I assume they get back together.  Maybe he buys out her publishing house and shows her the joys of erotic asphyxiation while declaring his love. Or maybe the little subplot started at the end of the book, where he’s distracted by SOMETHING BIG, turns out to be something personal, and she comes back to support him through his time of need. Whatever.

I’m sad there are so many women who think this is a hot fantasy, because it makes me wonder how many will ignore early warning signs in their relationships.  This isn’t a small number of consenting adults engaging in whatever sexual activities they enjoy.  This is the mainstream, young women being told that it’s sexy to be controlled, stalking is fine as long as you label it, almost anything is ok in the name of love, and of course, just hang in there– because he’ll stop beating you eventually if you follow his rules. If you’re a really good girl, he’ll come to understand you love him enough to heal him with your magical vagina and deep throat skills. Then he won’t even need to beat you anymore. Except, of course, for when you ask him nicely.

Yeah, we need to talk about this, especially as the movie is about to be released in theaters.  Much like the first photos above, this story looks innocuous enough, until you look a bit closer.

Wake up, women! This isn’t sexy or romantic.  This is predatory behavior.

 

Dreaming in Color

Pretties!

Pretties!

The room I grew up in looked like Walt Disney had projectile puked in technicolor.  That was more than a bit much, but I guess it had an influence. I do love color.  Not so much in the clothes I wear, but for accessorizing, and surrounding me in the apartment.  Just surprising pops of pretty. Fatigue surprised me last Friday Night Madness with the above bracelets.  Aren’t they cool?  They’re made of paper, an idea that I absolutely love.

It’s gray and blah outside, I swear the light snow coming down is slush. I just got back in from walking Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, where she cowered and shook her way down the block, unable to determine what was more terrifying–the super driving his little snow plow alongside us, or that horrible cold wet stuff under her feet.

But it is Friday, I’m looking forward to Friday Night Madness tonight, and I’m trying to get myself in the right mindset to grocery shop while staying within budget.  I can’t complain, because I got to the fish store the other day and got a few new critters for the tank.  Reefing can be a very expensive hobby, I stick to the cheaper fish and buy small, small frags.  They’ll grow into larger, full colonies–patience is key in this hobby anyway.

I got a pair of fish I wasn’t planning on, a little more aggressive than I wanted.  But when I saw the orange lips on that solorensis wrasse, and he had a mate with him, for an amazing price! I absolutely could not resist. I’m sharing photos of them below, happy with the livestock but unhappy that I still haven’t been able to figure out the best settings on the white balance when taking these photos.  The LED light make everything appear very blue in the pics, no matter how I try to balance the settings of the actual lights.  Still, take a tank tour with me, enjoy my pretties, creepy crawlies, and colors!

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I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Oh, secrets

Oh, secrets

Remember that playground ditty?

I’ve been thinking about something I saw on the news the other night. Patricia Todd, a legislator from Alabama, has threatened to “out” colleagues who campaign on a platform of and preach about family values and vote against marriage equality while having extra-marital and/or gay affairs.

My first thought was woo hoo!  Do eeet!  Then I read many statements and opinions of those who believe she’s wrong for threatening this.  People who support marriage equality, but don’t believe in these tactics. Some strong and thoughtful points were made.  For instance: would these outings be based on rumors? as a political tactic, the ethics of this are questionable, it would potentially hurt not just the politicians but their families as well, private lives should be private, and of course, it does sound an awful lot like extortion.

So I thought some more.  And I’ve decided I’m ok with being immature and reactionary here, and support her doing this provided these potential “outings” were based on verifiable facts, not whispers in the schoolyard, and limited to the politicians themselves, not potential affairs of spouses, children, etc, and not using affairs conducted well before the person decided to run for office.  People make their own choices for many reasons we know nothing about, and we the public may or may not be able to understand–it isn’t our business. If she knows any of her colleagues are gay but not out, or having extra-marital sex, and these colleagues are not trumpeting “family values” they should be left alone regardless of whether they’re Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

As far as I can tell, these threats were made only to those politicians who stand on their narrowly defined platform of family values.  Well, if you decide to stand on a pin, you may fall off when the wind kicks up.  I agree, private lives should be private. But these politicians have made it their business to say others aren’t entitled to dignity and equal rights, their (yanno, them–as opposed to us) private lives don’t deserve respect, because somehow equal rights are a threat to the security of  glass houses. When someone decides to run for office in today’s world, like it or not they’re opening their doors and forfeiting privacy for themselves and their spouses.

For all I know Joanie (or Joe) Congressman may be riding the bologna pony with her assistant while her spouse gives the blessing–and videotapes it.  I don’t care. I don’t believe this has a thing to do with their ability to make decisions and legislate.  I don’t care if my accountant has a foot fetish, my doctor is gay, my senator is asexual, or my train conductor is polyamorous.  But. If you are in a position of power, elected by the people based on your beliefs and telling others the “right” way to live, you should be living those beliefs, not limiting and stripping the rights of others because they want to live their lives with open intent, while you engage in your “alternative lifestyle” behind a smokescreen of moral indignation.

Is this truly a good idea, a smart way to conduct politics?  I don’t know. Maybe there are longterm ramifications and repercussions I don’t see. I’m not a politician, wouldn’t want to be. But here you have it. Proof that Mrs Fringe is every bit as immature as you always suspected.

Wah Waah Waaah

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

The Northeast was expecting the blizzard of the year last night, with predictions of epic snow accumulations.  The NYC DOE announced public schools would be closed for today, and the city effectively rolled up the sidewalks at 11pm Monday night.  A big deal. A very big deal.  Buses were taken off the streets, the trains were shut down. I took these shots yesterday around 2PM, just as the storm was picking up.

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My Facebook feed was filled with photos of empty grocery shelves and menus detailing who would be cooking what, whose schools had been canceled when, most people moaning about the snow, harrowing tales of 3 hour commutes home during rush hour, slipping and inching down the roads.

As it turned out, the storm hooked east, and we didn’t get slammed here in Manhattan. I think 6.5 inches in Central Park.  Now my Facebook feed is filled with moaning and groaning about the inaccuracy of the weather predictions, how the mayor was paranoid and jumped the gun, inconvenience, no school, no work, blah blah blah.  First of all, it’s weather. Regardless of how sophisticated the satellites have become, they’re called weather predictions for a reason. Second, a lot of areas were slammed–not far from each other, friends on Long Island were hit hard, some in NJ were, some weren’t. And those up North of us are still being pelted.  Third, so what?

Yeah, I said it. How many of us are so important (outside of emergency workers, snow removal, hospital workers) that the world collapses and people die if we don’t get to work? How many truly believe that one snow day is going to make or break the children’s test scores?  Yes, it was the wrong call in terms of how much snow we actually got here in the city.  But what if they didn’t announce school closings yesterday, and we got as much snow as expected, and it was announced this morning? Well, then everyone would be complaining about the late notice, many scrambling to figure out child care. If they didn’t tell everyone to get off the roads last night? Everyone would be complaining about how long it’s taking the city to clean the streets, not to mention the inevitable accidents and cars stuck on the highways.

It was odd for the subways to be shut down, it’s true.  But my first thought was for the homeless for whom the subway tunnels and trains provide a relatively warm and dry place to be during bad weather. Six inches of snow and thirty mile per hour winds has to feel like storm enough when you don’t have somewhere safe to shelter you.

Are we so entitled that inconvenience is prioritized over safety? Is it really so terrible to have a bonus day off?  Many won’t be paid for this day off, it’s true, and that sucks. Many more will work extra hard, and/or extra hours to catch up later in the week.  But, oh, wasn’t it delicious to sleep an extra hour or two today? To go play in the park, or cook something special, or play a game with the kiddos, or just stay warm and dry?  We are the only “advanced” nation that doesn’t guarantee its citizens paid vacation time and/or paid holidays.  Huffing and puffing about the inconvenience of weather seems to fit right in with that philosophy.  If you don’t have a hill to trudge up backwards in the snow pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps on the way to work, find one! I don’t think anywhere in the US embodies that spirit more than New York.  The show must go on, after all.

I walked through Central Park earlier, watched others walking their dogs, sledding, taking photos, and smiling. I didn’t hear one person complain about how miserable it was to have the day off, even though snow flurries started up again while I was there.  And I saw plenty still at work: in small businesses, police cars, driving buses, building maintenance and doormen, running the snow plows, shoveling the walkways for brownstone owners, and yes, even delivering groceries. I really hope whoever couldn’t be bothered to wait on line with the rest of us peasants yesterday are giving big tips today.

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And watching Art Child listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan with Husband this morning? Priceless.