Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weather or Not

The least pleasant aspect of the January thaw we enjoyed for much of last week, at least across this part of the Northeast, was the foreboding we shared that it would end and winter would have us in its icy grasp again.

I cheer up by thinking that pitchers and catchers report for spring training in less than a month and then I cheer down when I remember my team, the Yankees, doesn't believe in starting pitcher.

For everyone else if it helps, we hit the mid-way mark of winter last week, meaning it's all downhill until we start suffering from Spring Fever and pollen allergies.

Realist that I am I'll confess now that I'm NOT volunteering to wander out into the teeth of that inevitable next winter storm, whenever it gets here, clutching a calendar page and trying to make a point about the separation of the seasons over a howling wind.

We've had a respite and we should be grateful while preparing for what's next. Our new normal may not rock but for someone, someday this will be a part of their Good Old Days.

I'm thinking about a definition that used to make me laugh until I realized it's really more of a warning than a witticism: a pessimist is someone who feels bad when he feels good out of fear that he'll feel worse when he feels better.

I, too, often succumb to the appeal of those of the pessimistic persuasion because it would seem that pessimists can only be surprised, but never disappointed. Of course, that also means they pay for huge amounts of confetti and I can't even imagine their clean-up costs.

But returning to the outside atmosphere rather than the mental state with which we greet it, if you think I'm unhappy when we have a foot of snow, you should hear me in July when it's hot. The word you're looking for in the dictionary is 'whiner' and that is my picture alongside of it. Look at that, easier than Waldo, right? 

I'm not a big fan of rain either, come to think of it, especially on my day off. Where you might see cumulus I definitely see conspiracy. Perhaps if I were a farmer or a duck, I'd feel differently but I'm thinking not so much. 

It's almost universal that the first thing we want to know when we awaken and the last thing before we go to sleep is 'how's the weather going to be?' If you think I'm kidding, think back to last night's television news. Probably the only story you can remember is about the forecast. 

And weather is great TV. We can't get enough radar or sonar or jelly jar. But, let's face it, all of the graphics, and the live cameras and the reports from the snowplows, all of it, it's noise and not news. And that's the way we like it, not because of how it is, but because of how we are. 

No other species obsesses like we do about something over which we have so little control. We of the opposable thumb and the amazing brain, master (and mistress) of the universe, the liquid acrobat as regards the air, the crown of creation and what do we worry about? 

And not funny ones, like 'a man walks into an Isobar with a parrot on his head' but the humorless kind that we are so frightened of that from November through the end of March, any time the sky fills with clouds, we all head to the grocery store to buy bread, milk and eggs. What is there about snow that we respond with French Toast? Notice how I'm not as puzzled about toilet paper purchases.
-bill kenny

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