Registering a complaint

Good morning. I would like to formally register my complaint about this thing called daylight savings time.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Widget. Mr. Widget for those of you who do not know me well enough to be so familiar. And I would be  embarrassed to tell you what my Person calls me. I doubt it can be translated into printed form, as it requires pitching the voice into ridiculous tones.

This daylight savings–could someone please explain to me the purpose? My Person was up early this morning, and typing away at the computer. Please! It was still snuggle time, and Person must hold me just so, under her neck, so that I can feel the pulse and the heartbeat. Yes, I know that requires that she must support me using one arm, and that Person finds it difficult to type with only one hand. But truly! Let’s have our priorities straight here!

And my Person began to fix breakfast before I made my vocal request for the meal! What’s up with that? I am a regulated animal. My body is fine tuned to tell me when it is time to be fed. I never fail to let my Person know that it’s getting close to time to prepare my meal. My Person understands all the signals–the gentle nudges, the tiny squeaks, and Person never doubts when I speak loudly to announce that dinner is late!

I do not like my routines to be upset. Please return to our normal schedule at once.

Cat looking through window blinds

Closed due to winter weather

That makes me laugh. Grateful for the day off, but once again, there will be fallout since the decision to close our offices was made before midnight last night. It’s almost 10 am, and the weather outside is still below freezing, but the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising. Prolly would have made more sense to have a delayed opening, but hey! Like I said, I’m grateful for the day off!

The winter weather nationwide, and the blizzards in Boston and the Northeast have brought me a new awareness of the costs of these closures, though. With the company I work for, I love these closures. I get paid because it’s not my fault that I’m directed not to go to work.

But one of the articles I read about the economic effects of the Boston blizzards opened my eyes to another view of what gets hit hard when the weather is harsh. Beyond the obvious impacts of the cost of emergency response, of sand trucks, of power outages, and of the dangers and discomforts of not having enough heat, food, or water, the article talked about the devastation it brought to folks who depend on an hourly wage to survive. The fact that when these folks couldn’t get to their jobs, or if their workplace didn’t open, it wasn’t just a day off. One quote I read sank in: “There will be a lot of foreclosures in these neighborhoods.”

Yesterday evening, I was checking out at the grocery store. At work, we’d had conversations about the potential for a delayed opening, and of course, the weather was the topic of moment everywhere. The clerk and I were talking about the cold front moving in. Could be ice and shut downs, I remarked. Oh she hoped not! And I quipped back that a delayed opening, just a couple of hours, would be fine with me.

It wasn’t until I was unpacking my groceries at home that it struck me that she was probably paid by the hour for the time she attended work. If she couldn’t get to work, she wouldn’t get paid. I was happily looking forward to the possibility of having a little more time in the morning to do what I wanted, an extra cup of coffee with the Widget, writing a little and catching up on classwork.

She, on the other hand, might have been thinking about what bills could be delayed, or how to cut back on her own grocery bills.

Mindfulness. It pops up when I least expect it. And every time, new understanding.

Driven

I woke up this morning from a dream that I can’t remember, but the first thought in my head was that it was somehow connected to getting a driver’s license.

I took driver’s ed the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school. I did pretty well, and had no more than normal nerves when I took my driving test. I failed it. I failed it because the officer thought I lacked confidence because I drove so slowly past the elementary school, carefully observing the reduced speed limit. Problem was, it was summer, and the speed limit didn’t apply.

Embarrassed and lacking support from my parents, I did not attempt to retest. Nor did I drive. (I may have also refused the little support my parents may have offered, recalling my teenaged self.)

I took a driving test again a few years later in a different town in a different life. I failed this time because I could not parallel park. Again, embarrassed and discouraged, I didn’t pursue driving. I did not get my driver’s license until the ripe old age of twenty-two, and only then after driving (illegally) without a license for several months.

Between that first failed test and finally becoming a legal motorist, my life had many twists and turns. As I reached to remember the dream, my prevailing thought was how different my life might have been had I been able to drive. The ability to explore areas further than walking distance might have saved me from the shuttered isolation that I felt, and chapters in my life that ended abruptly might have closed more gently.

That said, I can’t regret anything because I am more than content with who I am now, and I wouldn’t be the me I am without those chapters written as they are.

But I would still love to know the other story.

Evergreen branch with new growth

Cold

It wasn’t supposed to be this cold today. Drizzly and grey, yes. Cold, yes. But not below freezing cold. I live in the southern US. We’ve already had temps in the 80s in January.

Don’t get me wrong. I like cold. I am grateful for the days that aren’t sweltering. Someday I’d like to live in a place with four seasons instead of two.

But it wasn’t supposed to be this cold today.