Here’s one piece of conversation you won’t hear this week:
“Boy, we need the rain.”
Well, we needed it and we got it. We were begging for rain two years ago and now we’re waking up each day to the dreary, foggy morning that adds to the already-gloomy mood that’s usually reserved for Monday mornings.
It’s like living in Seattle. It puts everyone in a bad mood. I hate it when the folks here at work are in a bad mood. They have guns. I don’t like it.
What the water can do is scary and impressive. Overflowing creeks and rivers can devastate low-lying areas. It’s unimaginable, but people are swept away.
I live on a hill, on the top of a subdivision that is on a hill. Flooding is not going to happen. We’re more likely to have consecutive days of non-stop thermal convection or frontal-lifting clouds. (As if I need to tell you that.)
What I found instead was a magical world of mushrooms in my yard. These monster mushrooms wasted no time in taking advantage of the one-week monsoon. The dogs are barking at them thinking they’re really, really pale intruders.
I’ve got weeds on steroids now. It’s out of control. I put weed-killer on them and they cussed at me. This is nuts.
We’ve found, once again, that as much infrastructure as we put in this city, one good week of solid rain easily sets up back 50 years. Interstates closed, more than 100 roads closed, bridges closed. What a great excuse not to work!
You know what else is out of control? The weather people on television. They’re loving it! Okay, I get it — it’s raining and it’s raining hard and it’s your moment. Short of a good ice storm or tornado, this is it. You guys and gals are center stage.
I love the weather people. I just don’t know where they come from. (I think perhaps they come from pods placed here many years ago.)
Weather people are the “regular folks” of local news. They don’t resemble mannequins, but rather humans —until the weather goes nutzo on us. They have mastered the art of conveying seriousness on the television. They’re okay with the rain because it’s gradual. We’ve had a week to figure out what’s going on.
But wait until the obligatory February ice storm! (Note: If you’re a reporter new to the Atlanta media market, wait until the ice storm and the assignment editor sends you out to Taccoa to film a (&$)$*&$)-ing snowflake! Then you get to tape the bulldozer, over at DOT, moving sand from one end of the parking lot to the other while the PIO in her hard hat tells us “We’re ready” while 50-million residents head for the store to buy milk and bread! It’s awesome! No reality show can top it!
But let’s wait until February to play with that one.
The fact is, weather is the leading reason for conversations, and has been for gazillions of years. My grandma Berry grew up in Arkansas, and then Oklahoma, where weather was a big deal — big deal as in droughts and the occasional tornado that came along and moved your barn and a dozen cattle or so over to the next county. You could call her and, regardless of why you originally called her, in about eight seconds the topic turned to the weather.
Now I’m doing it.
The weather is probably the most single, influential thing that we talk about, probably because we have no way to control it. It’s an endless source of amazement for us.
If a really, really bad thunderstorm hits when I’m at home, I grab a cigar and go sit on the deck — which is half-covered — so I can just watch the trees sway and the rain and small pets go sideways down the street. It’s nature flexing a bit of muscle. It’s captivating. When it gets out of control, it’s scary but captivating.
For now, though, I’m good with the water. I’ve had enough. I’m ready to dry out a bit and get the chainsaw out and cut some of those nuclear mushrooms down.