10° 40' N, 61° 30' W

Sunday, January 12, 2003

It snowed in London this week--the heaviest snowfall in 12 years--and I took some time off to enjoy it. I have not seen a blanket of the white stuff since I was six and living in New Jersey. My manager said I was like a child--the snow inexplicably made me very happy. I was polite enough to ask my colleages for a snowball fight, and most (predictably) refused; my classmates, however, received no such courtesy. and were met with salvos as they left Birkbeck on Wednesday night. No chance to build a snowman or make an angel, but I sang "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" to all who could hear.

Some people have wondered why, in spite of the tabloid press's best efforts, Londoners did not despair or, worse, panic after the ricin discovery. The fact that Londoners (one of whom, I guess, I can consider myself) already suffer so much plays a part. A huge part, though, IMHO, has to to with the coincidental arrival of snow. People were noticably brighter, and while the transport got worse than usual, it did not dampen spirits. People spoke to strangers, which rarely happens in this city; spontaneous snowball fights erupted in public squares. I will not overdraw from this, but this gives me some hope that maybe,just maybe, this most anonymous of cities has some civility after all.