Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's winter, have patience


      The day after the February storm that dropped gallons of dense white stuff, I was shocked at the insensitive reactions from folks. Mother Nature was testing the hardiness of Western New Yorkers, and a portion of you failed.
     In fact, you “barely” made it. You were clutching your arms together like the Geneseo bear cub at the fountain holding on for dear life while being bombarded with confetti.
     Sipping my tea – coffee and Kay have parted their ways – and perusing social media sites first thing in the morning, I was flabbergasted at all the negativity toward weather forecasters - for example, meteorologists were too vague in guaranteeing the specific timeframe when the storm would arrive.
     That was a hard storm to predict I believe –snow, rain and in what combination. Location. Location.
     The heaviness of the snow due to the intervals of rain made for a tough go. It’s appropriately called the “heart attack” snow for shoveling. I agree. I only made one pass on our walkway, and I had had it.
     Winter does bring out the grumps. It’s hard on the workforce, too, day in and day out.
     Fortunately, schools were on vacation, and many businesses did not require their employees to come in.
     Photographers did go to work capturing pretty impressive scenes.
     Facebook postings were throwing meteorologists under the plow. Piling on top of that, the criticism about snowplowing on the major roads was incredibly cruel, too.
     I would have left it at that, and gone on to the activities of my day without giving it another thought. It was not to be so.
     Apparently, people have high expectations for everyone but themselves. They fail to step back and look at the bigger picture. There are far larger issues in the world.
     I couldn’t believe my ears when I walked into the post office and heard a customer screaming over the phone to a postal employee using all sorts of language I would never write here.  
     This irate man was in a tirade of mega proportions. I was embarrassed for the employee, and I would have preferred to back track out the door to the safety of my vehicle.
     When the employee hung up after a more than pleasant reply- he tried to soften it up a bit - he said, “That’s the way this whole day is going to be.”
     And it was only 9:30 in the morning. I pity him.
    Apparently, the customer was complaining that he didn’t have his mail and package delivered. A second employee told me that she called back all her drivers by noon when she was getting reports that some were shoveling themselves out at about every stop, especially on the rural routes.
     Now stopping service made logical sense to me. Just looking out my window, I saw several cars backing down our steep hill, and the snowplow was having a difficult time keeping up.
     You wonder what percentage of people would go to their mailboxes on that day anyhow. A rural route carrier in a nearby town told me that he did white-knuckle it out, and the following day 90% of his customers had never ventured out to get their mail anyhow.
      For those of us nonessential workers, staying off the roads was the best idea.
    Yes, I was inconvenienced slightly by a mere day not getting my mail including a package I was expecting, too. It didn’t occur to me to fly into a rage over it though, and take it out on the postmaster. Tomorrow would come soon enough. I didn’t want to risk the safety of my postal lady.
      I was brought up with a proper appreciation for service workers. Towards anyone. Period.
     What’s wrong with society? The world doesn’t revolve around any one single person. In situations like what I have been relating, you might not know it. Folks are clueless that others are doing jobs mainly for helping them make life flow smoothly.  
     Show common courtesy. When people get way too busy blundering through everyday existence, they forget the common niceties. It’s a domino affect with disastrous social implications.
     Next I ran into the UPS guy when I was at the hairdresser, and he quipped, “This is one brutal day with customers.”
     Off he sprinted to his truck ready to carry on sloshing through the drifts to make it up long driveways and steps not shoveled.
     More whiny people.  More sob stories. Unleashed dogs. Parking in the road while getting honked at by rude drivers. The UPS driver has to make up for a lost day.
     I don’t want this column reading like I am on a rant and I am sitting at the computer taking it out on you as fast as my fingers fly off the page.
     I thought twice about writing it, and decided that you need affirmation for being the compassionate peeps. You’re the ones that care about your neighbor’s welfare.
     The person in the village who told me that she tapes a Dunkin’ Donuts card with a thank you note to her garbage can periodically gets it. Totally.
     The neighbor kids with bundles of extra energy stop and shovel out the edge of a driveway. They get it.
    There are so many wonderful human-interest stories in the news sharing little kindnesses from random strangers and friends alike. Those warm our hearts and give us faith in others.
     Perhaps, you were one of the unspoken givers.  
     Winter storms are prone to weather hype. Be rational. Be prepared. Think of others, too.