On my third-last day in New York I pack my entire bookshelf up into boxes.
Two boxes are books that I wrote. Six are filled up with books I didn’t. I label the boxes, even though that’s silly because I plan to unpack them all at once. But when I start to feel out of control (even slightly) I focus on controlling what I can, and tonight it is shoeboxes and sharpies.
Around 1am I look outside and the snow is falling. I’m not certain how long it’s been doing that for. My best guess is a couple of hours.
I’ve never been in New York in the middle of a snowstorm but in theory I think it’d be wonderful. I like to be in cities that are shut down by the snow — that let you stay inside where it’s warm and inoffensive and harmless. I’m supposed to be driving back to Canada in three days time but I don’t mind if I have to delay the trip a little.
I like that we can’t control the weather.
We can control our careers and our routines and our diets and to an extent, even our personal relationships. We can boil everything down to a perfectly functioning equation that maximises pleasure and eliminates pain, but we can’t stop precipitation.
We can’t stop storm clouds from forming. We can’t even stop a high wind.
We can solve so many problems these days but the most frantic city in the world can still be shut down by something as unpredictable as a snow storm.
I like the nasty weather because it reminds us of how human we all are.
Even New York is not above the elements.
Which makes it feel like it’s okay for me to not be, either.
At least every once in a while.
At least on nights like tonight, with boxes piled around me and quiet instrumental music thrumming through my laptop and the snow — curling gracefully into a peaceful, quiet protest on the sidewalks.