I have to get serious here for a moment.
I was going to put up a very different post, but the thoughts that have been swirling through my head over the last few days need to be shared. I will return to my regularly scheduled frivolity later in the week (besides, I owe you a second post this week after failing miserably at posting over the weekend).
For the last few days, I’ve been listening to the local news media speak of a “massive winter storm” headed up the North American east coast towards us. Every report has been delivered in shrill tones, with the reporters using their “2008 economic meltdown” voices – the same voices they used for months after the crisis hit, continuing the fear-mongering even after the world failed to stop spinning on its axis.
Earlier this evening, school closures were being announced for tomorrow, even before a single snowflake had fallen, and viewers were being asked to write in to share “how YOU are dealing with this winter storm.” Knowing this city, I highly doubt we’ll get even half of what’s expected, and if we do, it’ll be gone within days. But apparently it’s the top story here in Toronto.
Next up as “breaking news” was a story about how a city nearby (that generally receives even less snow than we do) had declared a weather emergency in anticipation of the expected snowfall. Are you freaking kidding me? There are several thousand people in Brisbane, Australia who would have something to say about that. Are your houses sitting in two meters of water? Are there bull sharks swimming up your streets? Is a Level 5 cyclone on its way to your area to rub a big ol’ grain of salt in the wound? No? Okay then. STFU.
At a time when the people of Egypt are fighting and clawing their way to the mere possibility of a true democratic state – and as the beaten-down citizens of other countries observe this sequence of events with proverbial drool running down their chins – some of us are panicking because we might have to shovel driveways, drive a little more slowly and bundle up in parkas. Maybe we should all review the definition of a “state of emergency”.
After being hit by a devastating earthquake over a year ago, Haiti is still in a state of disrepair, with an unbelievable number of people remaining homeless. Can you imagine being homeless for over a year? I can’t imagine being homeless for a single day.
But apparently, a snow storm in a city that has the resources to deal with it – or, at the absolute worst, can bring in resources to deal with it – is reason for the entire population to throw a fit.
Oh, I know that part of being Canadian means having license for histrionics every time the weather changes abruptly. It’s our version of “How ‘bout those Knicks?”. And I will be the first to admit that I sweat the small stuff regularly and often need to remind myself that the security and freedoms we enjoy are ours because we are privileged enough to live where we do. But maybe we should all take a step back every now and then, think about what could be, and what is – and instead of whining, maybe we could thank our lucky stars.