Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 327-Love actually

Dear Mr. President,

Classes were cancelled for me today, and all over the city, businesses, schools and bus routes were shut down in response to (generously) 2 inches of snow. I'll admit I love this about my city, our complete inability to function at the slitest freeze. It's a sad reality, but we don't often get weather like this, meaning that it is just more dangerous to be out. Drivers don't know what they're doing, the city doesn't have a particularly organized response, and the recognition of this danger by local officials and private employers is sort of refreshing. Instead of demanding that we brave the dangerous streets for class or work, they're just willing to put aside these interests for the sake of keeping more people safely at home. It's cute. And comforting.

My roommates and I are bundled up and trying to keep from turning the heat on as long as possible. (Being on the 5th floor helps this, but not much.) We've got both environmental and financial reasons for doing this, but, with temperatures heading to the teens overnight, I'm sure we'll have to give in before too long. We're watching Love Actually, a romantic comedy we've each seen dozens of times since it was released in theaters. (I'm still convinced this movie is the reason my mother suggested we spend Christmas 2006 in London, a trip I continue to be grateful for.) There isn't anything particularly special or profound about this movie; love conquering all is certainly not a new theme, and the cinematic wisdom of getting as many famous people as possible in one movie is questionable. But, no matter how many times we see it, no matter how many lines we quote at one another or how many songs Becca sings along with, we still love this movie. It brought us together, in a way, several years ago before we moved in together, when we gathered in their tiny studio to watch this movie and promise ourselves that particular Christmas would be good for all of us and our respective romantic interests. It was cold, the city teetering on the brink of what would later be called Snowpocalypse, a city-crippling storm that few Seattle natives had ever seen the equal of. But I remember that night and the intense, hopeful warmth that we shared as friends certain our lives could only get better if we believed hard enough.

The next day my life took a memorable turn for the worst, and snow began to fall. I can't help but associate my own downward spiral with the rapidly deteriorating weather. Even now, the very sight of snow and ice, the prospect of months of cold makes me fear another winter feeling alone and depressed. I have to choose to remember the good things- our store closing early and the staff having a snowball fight at Linda's bar. Trudging through snow to feed my mother's cats, only to have them cuddle with me by the fire in her freezing condo. Laughing with these girls before they were my roommates as we made light of the disastrous way things turned out. No matter how hopeless it seemed, it did get better. The snow melted. The city recovered. My heart mended. Getting through this winter may require that I remember this, and remember that no matter how bad things get, I still have my lovely friends.

With the country still suffering from economic depression and the prospect of the Holiday season too much for many families to handle, I hope that we all pull together and keep each other warm, keep each other sane and keep each other safe this winter. (With Republicans already set against extending unemployment benefits for those still struggling, this seems unrealistically optimistic, but whatever, Hugh Grant makes me think the world is not all selfish and terrible.) Putting others, especially those less fortunate than us, ahead of our own selfish concerns is really the kind of love that this holiday season is supposed to be about. I think that if we do that, we'll all make it through till spring in more or less one piece.

Respectfully yours,


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