Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some Reflections on the Snowmageddon

For those of us living in the snow-hammered regions of the Mid-Atlantic (DC-Baltimore-Philly in particular), I think a blizzard of this proportion gives us with our modern, technological, compartmentalized existence the closest thing to experiencing what it was like to live before the Industrial Revolution.

Stocking up on food and goods - check.

Potentially going without electricity and relying on blankets, clothes or fires - check.

Getting cut off from the world beyond that which can be walked to - check.

Shared plight and interconnection with the neighbors - check. (I only now met my across-the-street neighbors, who are my age, despite having lived here five months; we worked together to get my car and their car up the hill.)

Treating any visitors to your residence like houseguests - check. (If someone's come over to your place, you're probably going to end up feeding, showering and bedding them. [Um, I mean "providing food, a shower and a bed."]) No wonder most ancient peoples considered the responsibility of the host to the guest to be paramount.

Being left to our own devices for our entertainment - check. (Of course, one of those devices is an Internet-connected computer, and another is probably a DVD player or a video game system, but either way, there's not much in the way of stores, restaurants, bars, movies or shows to choose from, and definitely no non-local options.) Some hundreds of years ago, during the winter, this is what people would do, after all - stay inside, perform the occasional chore. If you were a substinence farmer, what did you have to do during the winter? Not much. It's not like you were missing work hours at the office.

We even have to put our backs into some shoveling and do a bit of manual labor if we want to get anywhere. And heck, some people have probably died in the snowstorm. How 17th century is that?

Yes, we're able to keep up with our less next-door friends and hobbies via the Internet, and maybe I'm writing the wrong blog post, because this really could be about the key role the Internet has played in this blizzard. (Maybe another Gentleman can write on that.) But by and large, most of us still depend on in-person interactions for true socialization; Facebook is just for keeping tabs, passing time and sharing observations - but most of the observations on Facebook are pretty much the same. In other words, we're not really learning anything to see ten different friends post "Snow go away!" and another ten post pictures of their whited-out backyards. Despite being from different people in different places, these all add up to just a monotonous reflection of our own little landscape (even if it's nice to know - not that we couldn't have guessed - that we're not the only ones wishing it was over). In fact, I considered not posting this at all, because I figured all of you readers out there, being in exactly the same situation, have probably thought more or less exactly these same things. Thus, I believe that the snowstorm has rendered the Internet and its connections moot - overall, these five-foot snow drifts have reduced our world. Brought it inwards. Slowed it down.

And holy **** it's boring.

1 comment:

B.Graham said...

I'm just curious to see how many babies will be born in 9-10 months.