What the heck is going on? The CNN headline, “Nearly 10,000 flights canceled since holiday blizzard began”, is but a precursor to the cataclysmic sounding article that followed. The CBS article headlined, “Mayor: Roads May Be Plowed By Wednesday Night … Maybe”, then goes on to say that the “system is broke”. The NBC article with the headline, “Send in the Plows! Outrage as Transit a Mess, NYers Still Stuck”, cites New Yorkers grumbling about New York City’s preparedness. The headline used by the New York Post reads, “Fury as city is paralyzed by blizzard”, goes on to say “Outrage as transit stops in its tracks. Snow, ditched cars snarl responders. Bloomy insists: ‘The city is going on”. And last but certainly not least, the ABC article with the headline, “Lord of the Fliers: Will Anarchy Break Out Among Throngs of Stranded Air Travelers?” suggests that travelers all over the country have reached their breaking point. The frustrations of citizens trapped inside their homes and in airports alike are beginning to strain the patience of them all. Then, there’s this:
These are all just symtoms of an “I want it now” society. Kind of like those commercials on television where the people shout, “It’s my money and I want it now!” We’ve become so accustomed to getting what we want when we want it, we become outraged when the system is overloaded and exclaim, “How can this happen?” Our world of convenience has been carefully constructed to benefit the way we live with shortcuts and streamlines of every sort and measure with one and only one purpose . . . to increase productivity. We’re so damned busy with improving our personal and professional productivity that we simply don’t have the time or patience for anything that would delay our progress. Every single minute of every single day is measured in terms of “productivity”. Our entire lives are driven – even defined – by the productive use we make of our time and skills.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being productive, on the contrary, it is very important. But we live in a world filled with fast food, fast cars, fast communications, fast computing, fast transportation, fast this and fast that, fast everything. Our expectations have become so great and we have become so used to our expectations being met without hesitation that we’ve lost reasonable perspective in what is possible and achievable. In other words, we take for granted that the roads will be cleared and the flights will be on time come what may.
I can recall several times in my life when such weather was taken with in stride. We’d make some hot chocolate, shovel the sidewalk, build a snowman, take some old cardboard boxes to the nearest hill and make do with the situation. I can remember when the entire neighorhood shoveled the streets so they could move about. If we had visitors, we would just buckle down and enjoy their company for a few more days. It was a much simpler time though. Fewer people used airports during the holidays (most who visited relatives or friends piled into the car and drove), there were fewer divorced families, there were no 30 second microwave meals, soda came in glass bottles redeemable for 2 cents each, the only phone in the house had a rotary dial and you had to check to make sure the line was open before using it, when a friend or relative lost his/her job we all pitched in and made sure they were “ok” until another job was found, music was actually music, the word monopoly referred to a board game, anything illegal really was, gay meant happy, there were only 3 channels on the black and white television, math was done with a pencil and paper . . . and we didn’t blow our tops just because the “government” didn’t get out and shovel the snow for us.
Take this as a wake up call and slow down folks. Don’t forget that we’re in a recession and many of the people who would normally do the work to keep things flowing have been laid off because of budget cuts. If you can’t go to work and the snow plows haven’t been on your street yet . . . grab your shovel and get out there. If your neighbors see you shoveling in the street, maybe they’ll get the message and join you. If you’re stuck in an airport make the best of it. The place is filled with hundreds of people just like you, each one of them a potential new friend. Have some patience and just relax. They’re doing their best to get you going, thank them for it. Slow down . . . relax: