Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How important is your employment? Did you bear the brunt of the cold?

I was among the masses Monday, or so it seems. I got to work from home because of the frigid weather.

Frosty view of the neighborhood
I didn’t venture any farther than half-a-block from my humble abode, and even that was just for a few minutes so I could take a few photographs to document the conditions – which are hard to illustrate since the snowfall is past and the story of the day on Monday was the temperature that you felt – not saw!

NOW I DO some work for a daily newspaper. Although it turned out that all of the assignments I thought I was going to chase were for events that wound up being cancelled due to the cold.

I spent a significant chunk of my day working the telephone and talking to an assortment of police and fire officials, Public Works crews and various elected officials to figure out how people were reacting.

The consensus seems to be that people were so thoroughly warned about the weather that they were prepared. And in many cases, they didn’t even bother to go to work.

Which means most of those who were working were literally those police officers and firefighters who HAD to be on hand in the event of an emergency. That, and the Public Works crews who were on call throughout the weekend in order to keep streets passable.

ALTHOUGH THOSE WHO got a glimpse of the part of the Chicago area that lies on the other side of the Illinois-Indiana border got to see images of impassable roads, and word that the commuter trains to the Loop didn’t run at all.

Some of us worked Monday, and some of us didn’t.

My snow-encrusted car that didn't run properly before
Technically, I did some work. Although I was fortunate to be able to do it from within the confines of my humble abode.

As opposed to my brother, Chris, who works at a Home Depot store and wound up having to put in an eight-hour shift as the store was open for business.

Neighbors won't picnic anytime soon
I’D LIKE TO think that people interested in a home remodeling project could have put it off.

I wonder how much of the business was from people who didn’t think ahead of time and suddenly found themselves in need of a specific tool in order to make an emergency repair that otherwise would have caused their lives to be unbearable.

And for what it's worth, my brother did wind up having to spent part of his working day outdoors. "It's cold as (a certain municipality in Michigan that some also equate with eternal damnation) out here," is what he told me when I spoke to him briefly in mid-day.

Somebody lost a glove!
Although I do know he has said in the past that the store itself is kept so warm (even in the summer months) that he can build up a sweat in winter-time when he works indoors.

MY SYMPATHIES GO out to those who got stuck having to work outside, and where no amount of tuques, face masks, heavy mittens or gloves, along with layers of sweatshirts underneath a down jacket will keep them warm.

Particularly if their employment duties aren’t so much to keep us safe as to keep some chain corporation’s financial bottom line up to a certain level deemed necessary for a CEO somewhere to have an adequate profit WITHOUT having to lay off more people.

Yes, the chill of an Arctic-type winter (supposedly, the wind chill factor made Monday feel like a 45-below day) has put me in a sarcastic mood. I’d probably be even worse if I had actually had to deal with a chill in my fingers as I tried to take notes of the sayings of our U.S. senators – who were supposed to gather in the Pullman neighborhood to breathe life into now-former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s desire to turn the one-time railcar factory and surrounding neighborhood into a national park.

Envision the hazards when those icicles start falling
But they cancelled (as did a few other assignments), and I got to stay indoors (and yes, I literally am wearing a particularly comfortable pair of pajamas as I write this commentary).

MY SYMPATHIES EXTEND to those who had to work regardless of the weather conditions.

Except for, perhaps, the U.S. Postal Service worker who was supposed to make the trip to my residence on Monday. As far as I can tell, he never showed up -- despite all the rhetoric about "Neither snow nor rain nor heat" keeping postal workers "from their appointed rounds."

Which was an issue for me, since there literally was supposed to be a "check in the mail" that I hoped to get Monday.


No comments: