Photo by Jezz, “Winter Traffic” on Flickr.
I WAS IN WINNIPEG, Manitoba last week, where the temperature reached a breath-taking -729.5°C when the FLTW is factored in.
And FLTW is, of course, the Feels Like To Wayne scale. Which is how all temperatures should be measured but for some absurd reason aren’t.
Anyways, the weather was so breath-taking that my breath got back on the airplane and went home to the warm Toronto temperatures, which hovered somewhere around -702.6°C. That left me, my legs, and a thin wool suit to deal unaided with the arctic winds of Portage Avenue.
The reason I was walking down Portage Avenue, in nothing but a suit, was that my brother-in-law’s cat was sick. You see, he went off to Africa (temp. 22C/72F) and left his cat with some lovely folks who weren’t quite prepared for a sick cat.
So there I was, leaving a business meeting to look for a bank so I could transfer money to pay for the vet.
And that got me philosophating.
First of all, how did the pioneers survive without electricity and medicine, back in the day, walking around in their moose-and-beaver-fur business suits? I truly can not comprehend it.
This makes me think that before about 1920, people in Canada just stayed indoors nine months of the year. They ate whatever walked past their house, or hut, or whatever it was, and drank melted snow. And then they dressed in the animal they had just eaten.
Life was simple.
Well I found the bank and needed a coffee to warm up, so I went to another thing they didn’t have in the olden days, Starbucks.
I don’t know if you ever go to Starbucks, but they have these free iTunes “App of the Week” that they give away. Here it is.
I haven’t downloaded the app, and I’m not sure exactly what it is and does—but I can see from the card that it suits all my ambient needs.
And I didn’t even know I had ambient needs.
This is why living in the 21st Century is so freaky amazing: here is a company working around the clock on my needs, and I didn’t even know that I have these needs.
So I realized right away quick that it was time to update Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You know, that triangle thingy that talks about food and clothing and shelter.
When you are in Winnipeg in February, looking for a bank on Portage Avenue, you don’t have to be told by Mr. Maslow that you need clothing and shelter. Your legs tell you this.
But you do need Starbucks to remind you that you need belonging, love, “a Tall Americano with room,” and ambience.
So I went straight to work, updating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the 21st Century.
I realize there’s still some work to do on this.
For example: there is obviously more than one type of ambient need, with one Brian Eno record for each.
And I’m not sure yet whether to Chinese water-torture my brother-in-law, or just make him walk around Saskatoon during a blizzard, in his underwear, looking for my dry cleaning.
So many options, all so attractive.
But if we’ve learned one thing today, it’s that every cloud has a silver lining. That would be the next blizzard taking shape.
Or, the silver lining could also be the inspiration for an update of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.