The MTA officially declared a strike at 3am and I awoke to gridlock.
I can't help but think of snow days when I was a kid growing up in Buffalo. The excitement and anticipation would build as we'd sit by the radio listening to the school closing reports.
It would begin with the inevitable stream of parochial schools then move to the South towns which always got hit hardest by the lake effect. Finally there would be a seemingly endless pause before they would announce all Buffalo Public schools closed. (Sadly, this was frequently not the case as there had to be 4 foot drifts and 20 degrees below with for the public schools to close.)
A snow day was always a surprise gift of freedom - or if you were me, a reprieve from punishment for homework I most likely hadn't done the night before. The announcement brought a moment filled with so many possibilities. Should I go back to sleep? Go sledding and make snow angels? Make toast and turn on cartoons? I could do almost anything, really.
I feel that way today - although technically I'm still waiting to be the third passenger in a livery car scheduled to arrive at 8:05. It is now 9:43 and I find myself feeling lucky but anxious. I am incredibly fortunate that I am not a restaurant worker, an off-the books laborer or an hourly worker at a mom and pop establishment. I can relax with a cup of coffee in my warm house because I have an employer who will pay me even if I don't make it. (Of course they'll probably swipe a personal or vacation day)
This strike will affect people in so many ways. It is a huge inconvenience and a travesty - though I truly can identify
with both sides.
I can't imagine working underground every day with no natural light, running water mixed with sewage, rats, roaches and human beings who shit on the platforms.
Yet part of me is angry. How dare the TWU hold the city hostage? They chose to work this type of job and they make a better living than a lot of New Yorkers. And I don't want to hear the argument that when food and shelter are the motivating factors, one cannot always work in the field that makes them happy. Well shit son, that's a reality.
Most people get up and go to a job they don't like/despise every day. Growing up to be a receptionist was not my goal in life. (Although I did "play secretary" alot as a kid.) True, it is a cushy job and I should be thankful... but it is all relative.
I didn't even think this strike was going to happen and I said so to anyone who would listen. D'oh! I'm just relieved that I finished my shopping on Monday and I'm gettin out of here this week.
It is now evening as I finish this entry up. I was made aware that I didn't work a "full day" today and that I really
need to be on time tomorrow. Thankfully, I'm in full control of the traffic situation and can make that a reality.
Until this mess is sorted out I will do my best to see the better side of New Yorkers and ignore the examples of people without a soul. I only hope that at some point it snows - covering the city in a peaceful blanket - fluffy, bright, sparkling snowflakes.
I will lay down in the snow, no matter where I am and make my first snow angel of the season. I'll take a deep breath and stare up into the sky. And I'll remember for a brief second, that every so often, I can live in the excitement of the moment.