March 12, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on March 11, 2018

The in(s)anity of time-shifting is upon us again as we “spring forward” one hour into Daylight Saving Time (DST). “Spring forward” is a cruel joke in more ways than one, however. Aside from disrupting sleep patterns and making some people get up in the morning darkness again just as the earth’s rotation was actually beginning to provide an earlier morning light (a gain “erased” by the arbitrary dictate of time-shifting), this setting the clocks forward BS is happening at a time when we’re plunging back into deepest, cruelest winter. Not only are we in the single digits in temperature (in Fahrenheit!) at least at night, we’re also looking at a major – perhaps the biggest so far – winter storm, predicted to hit on Tuesday. That’s the day A. was supposed to fly out of Boston to Berlin, but if the predictions hold true, I think his flight will be canceled. Of course we won’t know till shortly before departure time, so it’s a tenterhook kind of situation. He also can’t move his flight up, to Monday, because that afternoon he has an appointment to get his stitches taken out, which leaves little time to get to Logan afterwards. But if we shoot for Tuesday as scheduled, I don’t relish the idea of driving to the airport during a blizzard, either.

This is all boring, except it underscores the unpreparedness here generally in dealing with what are after all fairly routine, expected weather events. In a “normal” city, for example, you’d say, “Okay, I’ll take public transit to the airport,” but in Boston you’d be risking life and limb, perhaps literally, taking the MBTA during a storm. Anything – other than safe, mundane transit – could happen. This all underscores my concerns about staying here. And it’s not that much better, really, if you live right in the city, as transit within Boston is too often a gong show. In fact, I sometimes think that the potential for growing chaos under our political regime could make our cities more chaotic, more destabilized, more dangerous. The class divide, growing inequality, has consequences. Pitchforks exist. I don’t mean I’m afraid of the majority and their lack – but I am cognizant of how “bigly” the 1%-10% minority would sell us out, package us off, leave us to rot. At which point, pitchforks. But I have to wonder what the point is in living in a “safe”-ish suburb, disconnected from where I want to be (in the/in a city), not being able to choose life in the city because 1) Boston is the wrong city to begin with, 2) American cities have become impossible playgrounds for the rich even as they’re increasingly crumbling, poorly serviced (see public transit), and unaffordable for the rest of us. So, take a non-American city – Montreal, e.g. A. says the city works, even in winter. I suppose that would be key: does the city work, even in the worst weather?

Yesterday was freezing cold. I didn’t go outside even once. Partly because of the cold, but also because I felt like, “What for? Go where?” It’s all a bit thin on the ground sometimes. So I hole up in the house, thinking of all the ways we could pour more money into it, make it even more comfortable. Always the push-pull, though: the desire for the city and mobility, and the desire for a stable House Beautiful.

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