No snow here!

I was nervous about the snow all night. I couldn’t sleep, I hate the white-knuckled driving, the fear of skidding and spinning 360 degrees hitting all kinds of passing vehicles. I have been doing it sans incident for 19 years now and I am still afraid. So I kept looking out of the window, at regular intervals, all night, watching everything getting blanketed in white and planning the email I would send my boss asking if I could work from home, planning my snowday attire and the most efficient way to get – cleaning the driveway, the car and then battling traffic in order to catch the 7:15 bus.

Nothing beats having a plan. If there is a plan in place things tend to go according to plan for the most part, Murphy’s law notwithstanding. So come Monday morning, granted I hadn’t had any sleep but at least I had a plan. Things went as planned, I cleaned the driveway, the car, made my bus and spent an hour snoozing and wondering if I would have to step through slushy, slurpee-like snow in the streets to get to work. I was hoping no one would look at me askance for my jeans and snowboot attire on a Monday.

So of course they would look at me funny! There is no snow in New York City! The streets are dry and some are dressed as if spring is just around the corner. No snow, no slush, nothing! The streets are as dry as can be. How does this happen! A fifty mile difference and no gentle gradations in weather. It’s another climatic region here in NYC. For the rest of the day I’ll be explaining how wintry it was where I live, hence the attire. Not that anyone really cares how I am dressed, it is all in my head, my lifelong fear of standing out when all I really want to do is blend in.

Well, I am glad I’ll be sending 8-10 hours in a warmer place. It’s a bright and sunny day here and I come here full of hopes that I will continue to try to work with stoic grace.

Grace being the key. It’s just work. It’s what one needs to do to live and one needs to do it without complaining, without appearing as though storm clouds are perpetually hovering over ones head. Working down my list of things is the way to go, without whining, complaining, rolling my eyes at things that don’t make much sense and mostly trying not to be snippy. Grace and “snippy” do not go hand in hand. I have to promise myself to hide that certain edge, that caustic drip that appears in some of my responses to people. There is no need for it. And what’s more, it doesn’t make me feel good about myself and I am entirely too conscious of doing it.

There was a time when I didn’t think people are so sensitive to tone or to antagonistic postures and body language. I didn’t think that my face, how I hold myself – my arms, my stance, how I convey a message in writing, all send signals to people and that people are always trying to read between the lines. I am surprised I was so oblivious to it because don’t I always try to delve deeper and go for what someone REALLY means? I do, quite consistently. So why didn’t I think others do the same?

Or perhaps I thought that if I am saying I’ll do something – or that I’ll carry out a request -without an accompanying smile or without an indication of calm acquiescence, that they wouldn’t give it a second thought. After all, I never do it with a frown! But they do, I guess the smile is all important.

There was a time when co-workers at my second job, all those years ago, used to call me Smiley. What was different about me then? I used to come to this job having worked a full day and after attending a class or two at the university. The work was drudgery of the worst sort, the work of a cashier in a furniture store. There were angry customers often enough. There were customers whose names I mispronounced – I remember not knowing which syllables to stress in the name “Buchanan” for instance – and Ms Buchanan was quite upset with this Asian immigrant butchering her name. But through it all I smiled as I walked through the store solving this problem or that.

Things are different now, I am not going to school or working two jobs, I have worked up to being a financial executive… and I rarely smile at work. Instead I send off sarcastic missives when to my mind someone is just not getting it. Forgetting that perhaps they aren’t “getting it” to my satisfaction because I didn’t attempt to explain it well, in laymen’s terms, or rather non-financial terms.

So yes, a certain stoic grace needs to return to the perspective I have about work. And on this pleasant day in the city, I plan to start serving with a smile, an understanding and a heart full of compassion šŸ˜‰



  1. I identified with this so much. I know I was a more smiley person when I was younger, juggling more work, more hardship. Then, went through this phase of cold functionality, edged with sarcasm. Is it fatigue? Or a feeling of knowing more than everyone else? Whatever it is, I agree with you, it is unpleasant. So, here's to your sunnier, warmer disposition. Take care.

  2. Hi Batul!Thanks for your comment. Yes this unpleasantness that sits at the pit of ones stomach's got to go before ulcers happen! It's funny, I rarely dream but when I do sometimes they are memorable and there was this line I dreamt up, I clearly remember making this ridiculous statement to someone in my dream: "In my youth there were no razors in my eyes". A strange statement, with all the bizarre nonsense nature of dreams, but perhaps, this is what the subconscious was dealing with.Pragya

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