Posted by: drrozkaplan | February 10, 2010

Snowstorm Panic

It’s 3 pm Wednesday, smack in the middle of the second blizzard in 5 days here in the Philly area.  The snow is coming down hard and blowing in circular patterns outside my 2nd floor window.  The wind is howling.  A little while ago, I heard thunder.  I’ve never heard thunder during a snowstorm before.  A state of ‘Civil Emergency’ has just been declared for Montgomery County, where I live, along with several other counties.  All the roads are closed, and everything is in a state of suspended animation.

We’re pretty cozy here.  My husband is reading and paying bills and doing paperwork.  My daughter’s boyfriend came over to purposely get snowed in here with us so 1. they could be together and 2. he would not starve, since apparently there wasn’t much food in his refrigerator and he is always hungry.  The two of them are doing homework.   I have been reading journals and manuscripts and catching up on writing and phone calls and laundry.

I was in the grocery store before the snow began yesterday.  The lines were crazy.  Why do we wait until that last minute and then panic-buy all the milk and bread in the state of Pennsylvania, as though we will be trapped in our homes for a month?  In my house, given what we have in cans and in the freezer, even if we were stuck here for a month, nobody would starve.  I suspect that is true in a lot of homes.  But for some reason, the threat of a storm makes us feel vulnerable, and I guess we have some kind of nesting instinct.  I do have to say that everyone in the grocery store was quite neighborly and jovial, wishing each other warmth and safety, so that I left there feeling a sense of ‘we’re all in this together.’

And we are all in this together, so we might as well just surrender, and let it happen.  I feel bad for the people who really can’t do that- the hospital shift-workers who have to stay on because no relief can get there, emergency medical personnel, especially ambulance drivers, anyone sick who may need emergency care or home care, because of the difficulty those caretakers are going to have getting to them.  Those who operate snow removal equipment.  Well, private snow plow operators will make a nice profit after the storm, so they’re not so bad off, but think about the public service people who have to clear this up…

And I do feel just a little bit of panic about being stuck, even though I have no reason to.  What if….the heat stops working, or the electricity goes out, or …or what??  Really we are so lucky to be just fine here.  So what is the panic?  I think it’s that I’m so used to running around doing so much every day, working, doing errands, going to the gym, seeing friends.  As ridiculous as it sounds, what is frightening is the enforced relaxation, just letting go of being crazy-busy and staying in one place.  God forbid, I might actually be able to hear myself think.

Yes, the shoveling will be a bitch, but again we are lucky- we have a snowblower, my husband is strong and healthy, my daughter’s boyfriend is trapped here so we can make him help…  and then the crazy routines of life will start up again, and we’ll wait for the next storm.



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