Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Presumably our expectations about life these days give rise to all the panic we see about ...well, snow. I have childhood memories of huge snowbanks at the sides of Glasgow streets, and of being sent home early because the (outside) school toilets were frozen; of wonderful sledging on these unexpected free afternoons because of aforementioned plumbing crises; of launching myself intrepidly down slides in the playground before the janny ruined them with salt. But I don't recall the trams going off, or being kept at home because it was too snowy to travel to school (half an hour away, if you walked).
But now we expect to be cocooned in our cars until the last possible moment when we go anywhere; we expect to whizz along motorways at insane speeds; we expect planes to shake off the shackles of earth without worrying about the improbability of landing safely on black ice - and when something makes this difficult or impossible we go into hyperbolic mode and talk as if the end of the world had come.
I'm as bad, in my own way: if I want to speak to someone and they're not either at home to answer the phone or responding immediately to their mobile, I feel irritation closely followed - if it's family - by panic: is their phone ringing out in a crashed car? Where are they? Why are they out in the snowy dark with a 2 year old when they should be safely at home with In the Night Garden?
So tomorrow, in penance for all this exaggerated expectation, I shall join in further gritting of our church drive (apparently our labours yesterday have produced miraculous improvement; we just need to do it further up) so that we can have our lovely Midnight Mass tomorrow. And then I hope to drive sedately along the M8 to join my family for Christmas dinner. It's been an interesting Advent of flu, cancellations and anxiety followed by relief as family travelled the country to be with us - it would be good to relax for a bit. Especially if someone else is doing the cooking ...