Like everyone in the world, we’ve been having crazy weather. You know, the kind of crazy stuff that you swore never used to happen in 1980s. In the past few years, we’ve had hurricanes, tornadoes, snowpacalypses, derechos, and other hundred years storms that never used to happen around here. You know, the kind of stuff I would have salivated over as a kid, whatever could get me a day out of school. I prayed and danced in my inside-out pajamas for the weather gods to be cruel and merciless upon us. And I guess they finally listened twenty years later.
A few weeks ago, it dawned on me that whenever these insane weather events happen, I’m completely reliant on the status updates of my Facebook friends for weather information. I never know if something is coming until I start seeing the various panicked musings of random people in high school. Then there’s The Weather Channel website, which always basically just says YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE HERE’S YOUR LOCAL 7 DAY WEATHER FORECAST YOU UNLUCKY BASTARDS. And then there’s the local reporters with the caffeine shakes, foaming at the mouth over their radar maps and thrilling on-the-scene videos of rain.
On the other side, there’s the morally superior people who think everything is hype and nothing bad is ever going to happen. I hate those people, too, and I wish a basement, sump pump, and underground spring pointed at their house on them. And then there’s my mother, who just wants to make sure I’m not standing outside in the storm in a puddle under a tree while holding an umbrella. Oh, mom. How did you know?
I wanted some kind of weather arbiter. Something that would keep me up to date on developing weather without all the prognosticating and sportsmanship. You know how in emergency situations, they say you should have stuff like bottled water, flashlights, and a battery-powered weather radio? Well, I’ve always felt woefully inadequate because what the hell is a weather radio and who even has one? Old people? Time-travelers from the 1970s? People who shop at Radioshack?
So I decided to get one. And after careful research, I splurged on one with fancy programmable features and a digital screen. The Cadillac of weather radios. I still wasn’t 100% sure why I might need something like this in the age of the Internet and smartphones, but I waited in anticipation for delivery. And when it finally arrived, I planned to devote my evening to it, programming and caressing it. “Whatever,” said the wife, “this is one of your weird things, just don’t bring it upstairs to junk up our house.”
Once it was all set up, I turned it on and a droll computer voice read the forecast over and over on the staticky weather band. What? That’s it? I secretly questioned if I had just wasted
fifty bucks. (Don’t worry honey, I didn’t actually spend that much out of our joint spending account.)
No. That couldn’t be my reaction. I was going to love this thing. If there was ever an iceberg alert, avalanche warning, volcano warning, or contagious disease warning in the middle of night, we’d be damn grateful for that 70 decibel siren going off in the dead of the night. Sure we don’t live near a volcano, but that’s not the point. The point is we can’t just keep this life-saving device in the basement with my collection of “weird things.” It has to be in the bedroom with us.
I don’t know how I managed it, but I talked the wife into letting me keep it on my bedside stand. It doubles as a clock! You know how we’ve been saying I should get a clock for my side! And it will wake us up at 3am if there’s a rabid pack of bears roaming nearby! Wouldn’t you want to know?
“It will wake us up at 3am?” she asked dryly.
“No, it will never wake us up.”
She rolled her eyes. I won. It proudly went on my bedside stand. And every night, I’ve enjoyed listening to the droning, comforting sound of the robotic weather forecast before going to sleep. And it’s been fairly accurate. There’s no analysis or hype. It just says what’s going on. Even the wife came around to it. What the weather radio said has become a regular dinner conversation of ours.
And then one night it did was wake us up at 3am. I bolted from the bed fully prepared to beat down some bears or run from some volcano lava, but it was just a flash flood watch. In other words, rain. It woke us up at 3am to say it was raining. The wife didn’t insta-divorce me at that very moment though, so I’m happy about that.