Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh, It's a Mess Out There

Happily, our younger girls in high school and my Better Half, who has to drive to the school where she works on the Queens border,m are all home today, as are our college-age kids who are hoem and off for the day.

Hiking before 7 AM to East 17th Street, which was unplowed, I walked in the tracks of cars that had made it through. Some neighbors were trying to dig out their cars. The snow, thick, wet and heavy, was more burdensome than the more recent snow day a couple of weeks ago. The Q train moved slow as molasses, or, more accurately, glacially slow.  The train was emptier than usual at that hour; I sat at the end of the car, and instead of tuning out to my Ipod, I sat and witnesses the morning commute.  A gentle sort of crisis, snowstorms bring out all of those dedicated, or simply more habituated souls, who find adventure in the thick white piles, or else who simply feel the need to make it into work. The train crawled along quietly, some folks reading or watching the flakes fall. By the time the Q got to Church Avenue,  passengers began to get and receive calls -- "Where were they?" "Are they making it into work today?"  I continued my morning of texts with a colleague who was commuting in from Staten Island on an Express Bus as the Q chugged along.  On a snowy day on the subway, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that we are all part of that subset of New Yorkers: NYC working people.


I finally got down to Brooklyn Heights and treated myself to a good cup of coffee and an egg white and spinach sandwich from Court Order deli. I got up to the office and was the first one in.  Unlike yesterday, when Brooklyn had mostly rain, the snow was thick and even drifting in spots all across Court Street. The phones started ringing early, but it wasn't business, just folks checking in to say they were doing the sensible thing and staying home.

My colleague from Staten Island made it in, as did a few other folks.  It seems like it will be a relatively slow and quiet Friday

In the current economic downturn, I totally empathize with those people who need a job, want to work, but don't have one right now. On an ordinary day, especially when I haven't taken a day off in awhile, I will be tired, a bit resentful of the grind; imagining staying on my train after my stop to go to a film or a museum or just a leisurely breakfast somewhere, anything other than (ugggh) work.  So there is something strangely comforting, perhaps another one of those metaphors for living, about the effort to get into the workplace on a very snowy, inclement day, the value that we place on our working lives and our identities. Work is of course about money, "earning a living," but it is more than just that. 
 
On a snowy day, making that special effort to get into work is how we demark our lives from one of "homo ludens" -- people who play and consume, to "homo faber" -- humans who make, and work and do. 

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Current Reading

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Current Listening

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  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
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  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
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  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo