Today’s weather forecast is, wind, rain and soon to be…more snow! There shouldn’t be much if any here on Cape Cod according to the weather people. It has been an active winter and I for one, am looking forward to Spring. This has been a particularly gray winter and I think many of us are affected negatively by the lack on sunlight. SAD, or Seasonal Affected Disorder, is a real disorder that affects people in mainly the northern climates where from late Fall to early Spring, there is a noticeable lack of sunshine. During my four years of living in So. California, I never experienced these mini bouts of depression that come over me here in New England. Of course, there are many other factors that play into this. The Cape in particular can be a tough place to spend winters as the employment opportunities which are limited to begin with, become even more limited. Living in a tourist economy is not always easy as many of our businesses make the brunt of their money in a roughly 12 week period. Many people head south for the winter to escape the northern winter and Florida’s tourist season heats up with the arrival of the “snowbirds” and the vacationing families and college student during the winter vacations. I prefer a quiet island in the Caribbean personally to recharge my vitamin D supply, but the last few years have been lean ones financially. So, since I can’t manipulate the economy or weather in my favor, I must make changes in my own evolving needs. So, I propose a toast to change…and Spring!
I had to drive into Boston at 5 am this morning to work at my “straight” job. It’s also known as a”day job” to some, both being terms mainly used by artists, musicians, actors and such. Those of us who at present are supporting ourselves with jobs other than our preferred creative endeavor, have these jobs because we cannot at present, pay the bills with our art alone. For approximately 25 years, I was able to play music exclusively and didn’t have to work in any other field. I was, in retrospect, very fortunate to have been able to do that as many others were not. Today, I have property, a mortgage, and many bills to pay that make operating how I did in the past, impossible. So now, I put on my business clothes and videotape depositions in attorneys conference rooms in Boston and other locations. I drive a lot. Some days I spend more time in the car than behind the camera which can be very stressful. Today, I drove in rush hour through a significant snowstorm to get to work. Have I mentioned that the driving skills of the average driver, at least in my state, suck? As a result of the snow and bad driving, it took me three and a half hours to drive 85 miles. To end my trip appropriately, as I was entering the parking garage and while going down the ramp that was snow covered, I almost rear-ended a new Audi that had stopped suddenly just inside the garage. My front wheels finally found some traction and I stopped just inches short of that Audi. In the past I might have been somewhat negative about the aforementioned commute and having to work at a job that is not my passion. However, today I find myself with nothing but gratitude for all that I have been given. I have been become quite a bit less judgmental and I now try to see things as neutral as opposed to good or bad. Of course I’m not always successful at it, but I’m making progress. I find myself smiling more and with much less stress in my life. It’s all good…except for those “other” drivers!
So what is going on with gas pumps that now play (bad) music and advertisements? Am I the only person who thinks this is a truly offensive idea? I know, this has been going on for some time now but it seems to be like a plague and all the gas stations are being infected. And here is the worst part about it, you are held captive by the fact that you can’t leave your position next to your car while you pump gas. Or can you? Yes, you can by breaking the law! If you have a removable gas cap like I do, you can place it in the handle in such a way as to keep the lever in an open position thus being able to walk away from the offending audio blather coming from the pump. So far, no one has tried to arrest me.
Spring has arrived on Cape Cod but not without a fight! Winter has finally loosened it’s icy grip on our peninsula but not without leaving behind considerable damage and changes to our beaches and waterways. We are once again reminded that we are powerless in the face of Mother Natures’ changing weather systems and the best that we can do is to clean up and carry on. Oh sure, we can build sea walls and other barriers to lessen the damage done, but those changes usually create consequences of their own. It appears to me that as the planet continues to warm, the frequency and severity of storms will continue to grow as well. Is this the new normal? We’ll know the answer to that in the future and we’ll learn to deal with whatever changes are forthcoming. Meanwhile, I am personally readying myself for a different storm, the onslaught of the tourists who will be arriving all too soon. As the number of people and cars increase, the level of considerate and conscious driving decreases. The shelves of the grocery and retail stores get picked clean at an alarming level, and the beaches become a sea of umbrellas and bodies of all ages shapes and sizes. Parking becomes limited, lines become longer. But wait, people spend money and therefor people make money! Many of us who live on Cape Cod make much of our yearly income in the roughly eight weeks that comprise the summer season. As a result, we are supposed to be grateful for this invasion and disruption of our space and lifestyle. I hear many a local complain of the rudeness endured as a result of stressed out tourists in too much of a hurry, many with whining kid’s in tow, stuck in endless lines of traffic. And forget about a week of rain in July, things can get ugly fast to say the least.
So, what’s a person to do? I find that meditation is helpful. Leave yourself extra time to get to where you’re going. Allow people in oncoming traffic to make a left to keep the traffic moving, you’ll make everyone happy. Well, maybe not the person behind you that’s got the whining kids. Lastly, be grateful to be in such a beautiful place and enjoy the moment.