So what did I learn in the blizzard of 2011?
January 19, 2011I realized that I wish I still had my Ford F-250. I knew I should never have sold it. This week, the weather has really reminded me how not so much in control we really are.
I was reminded that working remotely is an interesting phenomenon. During the storm, our four papers were produced by our two senior production staff – Kelly Brooks and Geoffrey Thurow – from home using "Gotomypc" and many, many hours of work. They both deserve medals.
Because of the storm, the idea of increasing our Internet-data speed by five or 10 times now seems like it might be something worth investigating. Time is money, or something like that.
The storm reminded me that "planning" is indeed really important, and that I do not plan nearly enough. Now I think I'll start planning to plan for the next storm or maybe the next gas crisis or the next water crisis.
"Crisis-planning you are," said Yoda, or something like that. Where is Yoda when you need him anyway?
I was also reminded that in times of crisis, communication is massively important. While we are a communications company, we do not always communicate well and need to improve.
The storm altered somewhat my opinion of Twitter and its role in our lives today. I actually spent some time during the storm both participating in, as well as following, the Tweeting world for a bit. But I still believe that I have underestimated the limits of its utility. Can you say "passing fad"?
People came through during the storm. I have great admiration for the truck driver who brought this week's papers to us, leaving at 1 a.m. from Columbus, Ga., where we are printed and not arriving in Alpharetta until 2 p.m. – 11 hours later and, despite it all, in good spirits when we spoke.
Hard-working people who conduct themselves with pride and grit impress me more than most (but not all) sports superstars, famous artists or politicians from either party. We wrote about some of these folks I believe in today's paper, and you may be surprised to find out where they work and what they did.
And one often finds reporters in general – and our reporters specifically – in the former category, the ones deserving our admiration and appreciation. The general public shouldn't take them for granted, and also has no idea how hard most reporters work. I salute them all, really. You should too.
The impact that this storm had on people was interesting and had many faces. It seemed that for the first say, 24-36 hours of a blizzard, people seemed to finally begin to relax after a hectic holiday schedule and a difficult last quarter of a bad (but improving) economy.
The storm at first seemed to bring a collective sigh – a good book in front of a warm fire, finally. But than we began to get a bit antsy.
I was amazed, but not surprised, by all those guys in their big four-wheel drive trucks who insisted on showing everyone how fast they could drive on icy roads and how reckless they were. In my old age, I think finally I am no longer surprised by people in general and especially by fools. But this driving fast on the icy roads was almost too much for comprehension.
I saw people helping others during the storm. I am sure you did too. I was one of the ones who was helped I have to say. Thank you to those four Hispanic guys who stopped their car on the icy road, along with another couple who helped push me back onto the pavement. I don't know what I would have done without their help. And they put themselves at risk to help me – a complete stranger. Amazing.
And the storm brought humor at times.
"Now my husband sees what I go through every day" was the quote from one of your (my) newspaper delivery people. Her husband was staying home with the kids while she was out delivering your papers to your homes during the storm.
Many of our delivery folks were out delivering the papers at great risk to themselves, but, as I said earlier, give me people who work and get the job done and I'll show you what this country is really all about. Adversity really does frequently bring out the best in us, and this storm has been no exception.
So, in retrospect, will I be glad when all the ice goes away? You betcha.
But, it's not that I won't look back on the "storm of 2011" sometimes with a smile and some good memories. We all have made it through a lot of rough weather lately and we will continue to do so. It's who we are.