My morning ritual is to mix up plain Greek yogurt with granola and a small dab of jam and then sit at my desk in front of my iPad. I read all my email, most of which arrive while I sleep because of the time zone difference, then I scan the Facebook posts, and finally I check my favorite news websites. I need these connections like I need water and oxygen.
This Thursday I am sitting in utter gloom. It's as dark during the daytime as it's ever been. The morning's dark clouds quickly gave way to full overcast and then a steady, drenching rain. When I looked out the window about 30 minutes ago I spotted plumes of jet-black smoke pouring from the top of a building a few blocks away along the Corniche. I don't know this city well enough to know which building it might be, but it's not one of the very newest high-rises. Then I heard sirens which is very unusual here, unlike Hoboken. I must say for a city VERY much larger than Hoboken, I hear a mere fraction of the sirens. I've always contended that the Hoboken police use their sirens way too much, and after living here for a few months, that opinion has only been reinforced. In addition to the sirens, an official-looking helicopter is making an appearance and buzzing around for a look-see. We don't typically see or hear many of them in Abu Dhabi either.
I woke wanting to check on news of the Winter Storm pummeling the East Coast with snow and ice. I look at Silver Spring, Maryland, where my sister and her family live and guess that it will be another snow day for her two children. Linz and Sasha will be happy. My dad is only minutes away from Lori in a retirement community, and not for the first time this Winter I feel relief knowing he is in a safe place with lots of people around him for company. I don't have to worry anymore about him living in his isolated house on a hill, miles outside of the nearest town.
A quick look at the Weatherunderground tells me that it's a mild (mid-50's) kind of week in Denver, and San Diego is enjoying it's usual ideal weather which today is far nicer than what I am experiencing. So no worries about "the kids".
No, it's my friends in NYC and Hoboken that I think about this morning. Snow and ice pellets. 100% probability. I read that schools announced closings the evening before, and people who can work from home made sure to bring their business laptops home with them. This used to be an unusual occurance, but this Winter apparently it's become routine. I feel like I'm watching the movie "Groundhog Day" as storm after storm blows through, but sadly my friends are living it. Early in the Winter the emails and FB posts were about the beautiful snow, but now I read about my friends' frustration at being cooped up inside, and their justifiable fears about walking outside on the slick sidewalks or driving on treacherous roads.
I know it's irrational and silly, but I think I am experiencing a little Survivor's Guilt. Today is overcast. So what. It's already starting to clear as I type this. And the coldest daytime temperature to date has been 67 or 68, and I had to break out a wind breaker. Boo hoo. In all honesty I am so happy to be in Abu Dhabi right at this moment. I am so relieved not to be in the middle of the umpteenth Winter storm of the season. But at the same time, I feel a little badly admitting this. I also know none of my friends resent me for these feelings. Like I said - irrational.
I guess that's the thing about wanting and needing to be connected. You share your joys, but you also share all the other "stuff". You're honest with yourself and each other even if it makes you a little uncomfortable. I wouldn't want it any other way, but sometimes it's tough.