Snow

I’ve been trying to decide what to write about today.  The thing that irritated me the most was an extended unattributed quote that I tracked down to an article in WND Faith (World Net Daily) by Bob Unruh: Franklin Graham to Obama: Muhammad killed innocents.  The jist of the irritating part: My religion is right. Your religion is wrong.  Anyone who does anything bad in the name of my religion has gotten the religion wrong.  When people do bad in the name of your religion it’s because your religion is fundamentally evil.

Sounds so much like Jesus, doesn’t it?

Otherwise I can’t muster much coherent to say on the topic that I haven’t already.  I oscillate between reacting to such views with anger or with something like resigned despair.

I also stumbled across more irritating and stupid vaccination arguments on Facebook, but I think I’ve covered that already.

So, instead I’ll say something about a post by Jess Woodbury in her blog Don’t Mind the Mess: What It’s Like Living In Boston Right Now.  The title is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re not aware, Boston has been pummeled this winter by record levels of snow by a series of blizzards in quick succession.

First off, the main reaction all of us outside the area should have to towards people in Boston is sympathy.  Stay warm.  Stay safe.  Be careful.  Hang in there.  The tendency for people elsewhere to joke about how warm it is where they are isn’t helpful.  I actually tend towards jealously, because I love snow and I recall with nostalgia some huge snowfalls in places I’ve lived in the past (Chicago in the late 70s, upstate New York in the 90s), but expressing that isn’t helpful either.  Woodbury’s post communicates well the hassles of everyday life in Boston right now.

There are some legitimate points in the article about the inadequacy of Boston’s  snow clearing and mass transit.  To be fair, the sheer quantity of snow is so far beyond normal expectations that it’s unlikely the city could have been fully prepared, but the snow has also brought existing problems with the T into the spotlight.

That being said, one of the main things that comes though in this article is irritation at the disruptions in Woodbury’s schedule.  And for that, I have only limited sympathy.

Most of the time we’ve pushed back nature and can do things on our terms.  We have heat when it’s cold out, air conditioning when it’s warm, electric lights when it’s dark, so work and school can go on at the same times in the same places day in day out.  But the weather is the weather, and sometimes our artificial barriers aren’t enough.

When that happens, and we refuse to accept it because it disrupts our ordered world, things can go very wrong.  In heavy snow, it’s better to stay home than to risk accidents.  In Boston now it’s snow, at other times in other places it’s hurricanes, floods, wildfires, even volcanoes: all have stories with the common thread of people not being willing to accept the change getting hurt the most because they stayed in danger too long.  With snow as bad as Boston has now, the main goal should be to stay safe, not to stay on schedule.  A few days work or school are not worth taking the risks of white-knuckled snow driving.  And if you must get to work come hell or high (frozen) water or you won’t get paid etc. etc. – well, that’s a criticism of your job, not of the snow.

— Jack

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