Last night I took the train and the bus home, listening to the Diane Rehm show. The entire hour was dedicated to George Takei, Captain Sulu on the Enterprise and basic Japanese badass. He talked about Star Trek, of course, and about (as Wil Wheaton calls him) WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER, but he also talked about Allegiance, his Broadway musical detailing his years in the Japanese internment camps from the time he was five until he was eight. The camp itself was in the mountains of Arkansas, and when they were released, he and his family moved to Skid Row in Los Angeles, with only $25 in their pockets that the government had given them. Because of this, young George was frightened out of his mind and wanted to go back to the camp, because at least there, they were in a Japanese community and were fed meals. George’s father found work at a washateria in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood, and George was lavished upon with food by all his adopted abuelitas. All’s well that ended well, but the beginning of the story was every bit as unsettling as the birth and toddlerhood of Jesus… the difference being that the Holy Family were refugees in Egypt, and George’s family was rounded up by his own government. There is no such thing as competitive suffering, but if there was, George and Jesus would be right up there.
As I am listening to this funny and heart-wrenching podcast, snow began to fall, sticking to the windows of the bus and just blowing everywhere, rendering an umbrella completely useless. I know this because when we got to CCC, the landmark for my bus stop, I got out my umbrella and within 60 seconds it had turned inside out. No matter, though, for it was a great walk, watching the snow as I remembered my first winter in DC. As I told Kathleen, it was like driving through a ticker-tape parade. Additionally, there is a quiet that snow brings with it that other weather doesn’t, especially the first snowfall of the year. There is almost complete silence, because the snowflakes do not make noise as they hit the pavement. It is ethereal and beautiful, especially when it doesn’t pile up, because then you get these mounds of white that do not turn dirty from car exhaust and whatever else the environment thrusts upon it. There isn’t a word in the English language, to me, anyway, that fits snow better than “awe.”
As I was walking, I noticed that one of our neighbors still had their Christmas decorations in their yard, and one of them was a huge inflated Frosty the Snowman. I thought to myself, “well, they can just leave that one up.” I’ll always be cool, but I’ll never be “inflatable Frosty the Snowman covered in real snow” cool. The only thing I’ve ever wondered about Frosty is why he needed a pipe. You would think that smoking would melt his face in, but who am I to judge? Suspension of disbelief is the only possible explanation, and I am okay with that.
After I passed that house, I realized that I hadn’t brought my work laptop home, and I hadn’t set up my VPN yet, anyway, so if the snow was planning on sticking around, I was, in a word, screwed. I was lucky that when I woke up, the snow was gone, and I made it here just fine……….. well, kind of. I had two Uber drivers cancel on me until it was so late that I couldn’t make my train. I finally had the driver bring me all the way to work, not realizing that I would get here a full 20 minutes before everyone else, and I shivered in the cold until the CEO showed up with bagels and donuts. If there is any reward for being here first, it’s getting to open the donut boxes and choose while they’re all pristine.
Because I made incredibly strong coffee, I had a plain cake donut- the most perfect breakfast I could have imagined. Last time, I had a jelly donut, and powdered sugar went EVERYWHERE… on my face, on my clothes, on my desk, on my keyboard…. it was a hashtag notworthit moment if ever I’ve had one. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, there is still powdered sugar on my keyboard.
It looks like snow.