Saturday, January 27, 2007

Today's Special

The sun--and everyone in town, it seems--is out. We sat on a bench at the lake and looked at the trees reflected in the surface. Unspeakable beauty.

I was watching some neighbor kids today, wondering about their lives. They now live in what they'll later refer to as their childhood home. They are now in what they'll later refer to as their childhood. I wonder if they'll stay in this home, in this neighborhood, for their whole childhood. They go to school with kids they know. They live next to people they know. I wonder, what's it like to move when you're a kid? I never did. I packed my first box and moved for the first time when I left my parents' house at nineteen. Not that that's a good thing.

Recently, KING 5, the Seattle news station, presented a piece I have to assume was considered a news story about an Ikea newspaper advertisement featuring two men. The men were in the kitchen, one feeding a toddler, the other, holding a baby and wearing an apron. The reporter in the piece was going around showing the ad to people on the street and soliciting their opinions. He actually asked if they noticed anything unusual about the ad. I was angry about the ignorance and prejudice represented by the piece. I felt that KING 5 displayed, at the very least, disrespect to gays and lesbians by implying that their home lives were unusual and that they are not worthy to be featured in a home furnishings advertisement. The sheer pettiness of the reporter and his "story" insulted my intellect. Silly me, expecting news from a news station. I wrote an email to the station to communicate my shock and disgust. I championed my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and chastised the station for wasting my time with a non-news event when people are homeless and kids are hungry and we're at war. I asked the news editor if they presented similar "man on the street" interviews when the first African Americans showed up in a print advertisement. I lambasted and chastised. I was incredulous and articulate. I expected an apology or a telephone call or a thank you for pointing out the error of their ways.

I received an "out of office" reply.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sliding Into the Lucky Ditch

It's snowing again. In my little town, the trees are covered with white fluff and in the streets are tracks of slush standing proud--at least until the next set of rolling tires rearranges the pattern. It's going to be cold tonight and it snowed today. Not a huge thing, right? One would think there was something tragic occurring. A hurricane, perhaps. Another devastating 85 mph wind storm. More damaging floods. Nope. We're getting a little more snow and it's going to be cold. Yet the news programs are blaring winter storm warnings and promoting their winter storm coverage and touting theirs as THE winter storm station.

Snow. It's white. It's there. It's pretty. I enjoy looking at it and I'm thankful that I don't have to drive more than five miles in it. It's a bitch to be stuck in inch-by-inch traffic for an hour or three, gripping the steering wheel tight with your hole-in-one-finger gloves providing little warmth from the chilling cold, wishing upon wish that you could just get HOME where it's cozy and you're safe, carefully avoiding the stupid crazy drivers who are going way too fast in the next lane while you crawl, crawl, crawl up the highway inch-by-inch knowing you will, somehow, at some point in the dark frozen night make it home, only to land in a ditch twenty feet from your driveway. Talk about feeling helpless. No control whatsoever while your car slides down the hill as if it's a sled except the sled weighs a ton and can hurt or kill anything that pops up in its way. Not that I've done that.

We actually had an employee phone this morning to ask "Are we going to be open today?" Mind you, we had an inch of snow on the ground. Oh, how I long for those days in upstate NY, when the only days the schools closed on account of snow were when the drifts rose twelve feet tall and the winds were forty miles an hour. When the snot froze in your nose before it could run. When, if some escaped your nostrils, it froze to your upper lip, only to thaw and run when you walked into school. If you were especially lucky, you also wore eyeglasses, which would fog up for ten minutes while your snot was thawing and running down into your lip. The only silver in this cloud's lining was that you wouldn't be able to see the stares and pointing fingers heading in your geeky, snotty direction. Did I say I longed for those days? Am I nuts?

No. The snow is pretty and it can go right back where it dropped from. Still, I recognize the comfort of knowing that most of the other drivers on the road know the hell what they're doing in the snow and ice. And I know I won't find that here. But then, I live five minutes from my job, so who am I to even think these thoughts, much less write them down? Well, what else would you have me do with them, huh? Please. I was thinking today how happy I am that we planned our little tiny short commute; how ecologically aware and smart we were to reduce our drive time so dramatically from those old misguided days on the greedy east coast. Then I remembered that we didn't. We bought our house then found our business location months later. It's another ditch I slid into. Am I lucky, or what?