Monday, April 16, 2007

The New York Times People

A friend and I were recently discussing the No Impact couple from the New York Times. They seem nice enough, making a good effort, but they clearly fall into the otherworld inhabited by the New York Times People.

Right now I'm writing from home. Two floors below, I can hear the fire department's powerful pump sucking a mixture of air and water from the sump in my cellar floor. My pump is also working. Hoses lead down the driveway, joining the streams coming from other flooded basements. Driving back to the house from our friends' place this morning after dropping the kids off at daycare, we observed large-scale flooding of waterways. In our yard, the flow has eroded a pit against a retaining wall. Last night it was spouting water from between the railroad ties like a Dutch nightmare.

Here's what the New York Times People were doing yesterday:

"Coming on a weekend, the storm had a relatively light impact on most residents. Many shops and restaurants that normally would have been open yesterday were shuttered, but without jobs or schools to attend, many people spent the day indoors with the Sunday papers, relaxing with music to go with the silken lash of rain hissing at the windows, dripping on a lazy afternoon."

What I want to know is, which papers? What's a really good, thick Sunday paper around here? Is there one with a crossword that could kill some time? And how come the Times don't pursue the story a little further? Just what relaxing music were "many people" enjoying? How come Robert D. McFadden, Kareem Fahim, Abby Gruen, Danny Hakim, John Holl, Jennifer 8. Lee (known for her impeccable researching), Trymaine Lee, Angela Macropoulos, Barry Meier, Fernanda Santos, Nate Schweber, Melody Simmons, Michael Wilson and Katie Zezima couldn't find that out? I'd think it'd be simple enough if you're calling around a lot of people and finding out they were relaxing to the silken lash, you could just say, you know, are you listening to Django Reinhardt? WQXR? What?

At 11:30 last night, when my neighbor and a friend and I finally gave up attempting to get a third pump working, I was shivering uncontrollably. I'd been in- and outside for about six hours, and hypothermia was a very real threat. The water had just about reached the ignition on the oil burner (sorry, New York Times People -- we leave that on and we burn oil because we don't have enough time to cut the wood we'd need to run the wood stove we don't have because we're commuting two hours to work and just making it even in a cheap house even on one NYC and one local salary). I shut it off and we packed and left.

Let's hear it for the New York Times people. They're fighting the Mommy Wars. They're pushing the case for real war. They're seeing trends in the cutest little places. They very often get it right. But they very often plug into something that, statistically speaking, just doesn't exist.

Breaking news: There's a boil-water advisory in effect here.


Magpie said...

I would have read my NYTimes yesterday except that it was entirely saturated by this rain we've been having. So instead I contemplated the puddles in the basement - though our basement is not like yours; we don't need the fire department's trash pump. Today, I had to stay home because the trains are spotty and the kid's daycare is closed (because the teachers couldn't get there). When I told my boss why I wasn't coming in, I could tell he thought I was a shirker. Good luck in your neck of the woods.

Anonymous said...

I read that same passage with total disbelief. My day was quite different even before the neighborhood started to erode. I had a crazed two-year old running in circles all day and a dog that will not go out (let along go) in the rain. Funny, I never did get around to reading the paper that day. Silken lashes. I'd like to get my hands on some of those and use them on silly journalists.

I am very sorry to hear about the flooding. We were spared (just a little dripping from leaks around our chimney) but we have many neighbors and friends in the same boat.