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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shifting Gears

At one time I was just fascinated with learning to drive a manual transmission. My first inquiry into the subject was while riding in a car with a 4-speed manual transmission. When I asked the driver what I could learn as a passenger, she said that one of the keys was to work a gear, never lug it. Many neophytes, nervous about when to shift, will often shift too early, lugging and dragging the motor.

Some people say that they love four seasons and that they would not want to live in a climate which has little variation in temperature. I was never completely convinced, suspecting that these may be individuals who suffer the ability to admit that California is just a nicer place to live. I have known numerous people who have moved west or south and have expressed no desire to move back to the Northeast.

On the other hand, strongly delineated seasons do require shifting gears, and the change in weather conditions can be enervating - watching snow fall, drinking cider in Union Square in the autumn, awaiting spring's new blooms, and summer's outdoor activities. The difficulty, however, is getting through winter. I do not look forward to this season, and like many, my mind turns to tropical dreams when the cold hits. Rather than embrace the season, I resist it.

My business has brought me in contact with thousands of people from around the world, and I often indulge in conversations with those from remote locales. I once spoke with a woman who lived in the interior of Maine, where winters are harsh and long. This was of particular interest, since my family is from northern Maine and moved long ago to southern New England with no regrets.

I asked her how she could survive an environment where snow can fall in September and not melt until May, where sub-zero temperatures can run weeks and vehicles need battery heaters to start. She said that the secret was working on indoor projects. A good strategy if this is not just busy work to past the time and survive mentally.

Even in New York City, with all its distractions and easy access to places, the winter, with its occasional blizzard, does impose its will. Some will, of course, don the proper apparel and frolic in the snow, but for most, the winter means additional time indoors, a more shut-in lifestyle and degree of reflection and introspection.

So as we shift gears into winter, perhaps we can heed the advice of a woman from the depths of Maine and a driver teaching how to drive a with a stick shift - always work a gear, never lug it:)

Related Posts: First Snow,
First Flakes, Winter Walks, Small Gestures


Anonymous said...

I have been following this blog for about a year. The photos I like best are the ones that couldn't be taken any place other than NYC, or at least seem to suggest an atmosphere exclusive to the city. That being said, this is one of my favorites. This is a great shot. It could be any one of a number of cities I guess, but nobody would deny the Gothamness of this scene.

Leslie said...

Gorgeous photo! Washington Sq Park from your apt I presume?

Mary said...

How did your computer make out? Did it survive, or did you replace it? Just nosy.

Mary (again) said...

This shot is brooding and moody. I hope it doesn't match your feelings. Yesterday and today are beautiful in the Park. You really ought to get out into the newly longer day. Come over on lunch hour, if you take one.

Brian Dubé said...

Anon - tx
Leslie - tx and yes, that is the view.
Mary - Good news on the computer - everyone misdiagnosed. It is difficult to explain in text, but all that needs to be replaced is a $25 cable plus labor. The head tech from the company where I purchased the kit (Other World Computing) answered personally and told me the error in diagnoses. The repair facility (Digital Society) volunteered the same on examination. Two honest operations.

Leslie said...

Great news about your computer...yippee! Bet that feels like a big x-mas present.

Anonymous said...

Do you know any good sledding spots?

Luis Gomez said...

Beautiful shot. Glad to hear about your computer.

oshiyay said...

lovely shot

Reagan Bowman said...

This is a fascinating photo!