It’s hard to describe what’s happening here in Boston.
To the rest of the country, Boston getting more snow is not news. If the city was struck by a tornado, or another terrorist attack, no one would have difficulty imagning the struggle the city inhabitants would be facing. People would be able, on some level, to sympathize. But snow? ‘Hey’, I’m sure they think, ‘they’re used to it.’ And in a way, we are. Snow doesn’t usually shut us down. But this winter is entirely, utterly and horrifyingly different.
Futile attempts to save a parking spot. The city garbage trucks are taking everyone’s furniture, though people just find another old chair to use after garbage day.
As this NYT Opinion article so perfectly articulates, the city is under a slow, painful siege. It builds with every falling flake, every few days. When I say we are being buried alive, I’m quite literally only half-joking. The entire region is truly shutting down, and what’s worse is that from where we are now, it’s nearly impossible to see any light at the end of this snowy tunnel we’ve been trying to dig out. Our public transit system, already in such dire shape from years of under-funding and incredible mismanagement, is barely functioning. People are crowded at subway stations, many of them above ground, waiting for hours while too-crowded trains roll by – if they come at all. The commuter rail system that reaches into the suburbs is, as one friend put it, a free-for-all. With the train schedule officially suspended, many just show up just hoping a train will, at some point, appear. Buses can’t move through the streets, because on every road where there were two lanes, there is now one. And on roads with one lane, there are literally none. The streets are so gridlocked that emergency vehicles cannot even get through. Without a way to get around town, business are dying. Even the giant ones. I tried to go to a movie last week, on a day when the sun decided to come out. The theater, the largest in downtown Boston, was closed. They had no staff. I feel for the small independents, as if they don’t have it hard enough. People’s pipes are bursting, ice blocks the size of ovens are falling off gutters and crashing onto the barely-shoveled sidewalks. An entire icy gutter was ripped off the building across the street yesterday, crushing the car below it. It’s not even safe to walk around. All this, while the temperature is plummeting into record lows.
Trying to keep hydrants clear daily.
As you can imagine, people’s tempers are flaring. Just the other night, an incredibly ugly verbal altercation erupted on our street – my neighbor’s life was threatened; the cops had to come. All over a parking spot. I’m glad our city is a more liberal one where most people don’t carry guns; if they did, I would bet everything I own that more people would be getting hurt. Or killed. It’s not as if anyone can help us, unless they want to build a pipeline to help remove snow out of the whole region. We are fresh out of places to put it, and fresh out of patience to handle it.