Friday, 26 February 2010
A sense of perspective
I am tired. Tired of the winter. But not of the snow.
I am tired of everybody moaning.
This year, Sweden has had one of the snowiest winters in decades. The snow came in December and is still here. The streets are covered in ice and, just as you think it might be getting better, another load of snow is dumped upon us.
This week has been especially spectacular. Because of the amounts of snow, the railway system has not been able to operate as it usually does. Trains have been delayed, or cancelled. There haven't been enough replacement buses to cover the capacity. The underground has been cancelled on any parts of the line that aren't physically underground.
The newspapers have reported on 'Snow Chaos' and 'a feeling of tension and riot in the air'. Every night the weather has dominated the tv news, every night they have interviewed angry passengers that have had to wait at a station for a train that never comes. People have been up in arms, their anger spiralling. Train personnel have been threatened.
I am so tired. Tired of the moaning. Tired of the news coverage and the sensationalism.
We live in Scandinavia. In Scandinavia it snows. This year it has snowed an exceptional amount. This has meant that services can not operate with their usual reliabilty. Get over it.
We live in a world surrounded by natural disasters, such as the earthquake on Haiti, where people lose their homes, their families, their means of living. In other countries, people die in extreme weather conditions. In Sweden, we miss the train. I think a sense of perspective is required.
First thing this morning, the local government and the board of Swedish Railway anounced that they will be refunding all passengers. All passengers will receive a discount on their monthly travel card equivalent to one week's travel. This is to compensate everyone for the inconvenience. The inconvenience of living in Sweden?
This political gesture will cost the tax payer 50 million Swedish crowns.
In my opinion, money better spent employing people to maintain the tracks and keep the trains moving.