1. Right wing outrage. Should the president call a reporter a stupid son of a bitch? Probably not… but watching the right wing clutching their pearls over Joe Biden’s calling out Pete Doocy is the operative definition of a tempest in a teapot, particularly considering Don Trumps regular pronouncements from the podium that the media were collectively “enemies of the state.” The same people fainting from fits of the vapors now are the ones who cheered it on 18 months ago. You’ll forgive me, I hope, if I don’t pretend their outrage is in any way sincere or worthy of consideration. A president should be above such comments (in public at least). Joe Biden recognized this and personally apologized, which is something his predecessor never had the personal fortitude or desire to do.
2. Sleep. Whatever I’ve been getting between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:30 AM these last couple of days is probably technically sleep, but it hasn’t been restful. I know this from how many twists the sheets and covers have in them by the time I wake up. I’m not known for having the sunniest of dispositions on my better days, so I’ll leave you to imagine the full foulness of my mood just now.
3. The weather. For the last four or five days, the possibility of a “winter weather event” has been tracked by the local professional (and amateur) forecasters. I’ve seen regional predictions of everything from just some wind to 30 inches of snow within an hour’s drive of where I sit writing this. Some have opted to make no prediction at all, continuing to report that they’re monitoring possible adverse weather. Hey, look, the atmosphere is the very definition of a dynamic system. It’s complicated… but this deep into the 21st century it feels like we should have a pretty good grasp on what the prevailing conditions will be a scant 24-36 hours into the future.
1. Weather forecasts. I know weather is a complex “system of systems” but damn. If I were as often wrong at prediction and prognosticating results within 24 hours I’d get shitcanned for sure. Yet another example of where I’ve made poor career decisions overall.
2. Restorative days off. I’m a jealous guard of my time off. There is almost nothing I value more highly. I do my best to maximize the value of those days. I hate wasting them… which is why it’s so sad that the restorative effects of time off last no more than two hours into the first day back. It feels like it should take longer than that to slide back into a sea apathy and discontent. The operative word there being “should.”
3. Talk. People talk a lot. They talk and talk. They make promises and speak to high ideals. What almost none of them do, tough, is back that talk up with their actions. Talk is important. It speaks to our aspirations. Behavior, though, that’s what shows people how committed you are to getting there. If you can’t be bothered with the action part of the equation, it’s probably best to just shut the fuck up.
I’m smart enough to understand that what I know about meteorology wouldn’t take the first day of class to teach at a halfway responsible university. Being a simple man, I try to leave the prognostication to the professionals and satisfy myself that whatever it’s doing when I take the dogs outside in the morning is a reasonably good indicator of what it’s going to be like for the next 8 hours or so. Being a complex system, of course, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with that assessment. That’s why keeping an umbrella and a dry pair of socks in the truck is always a good idea.
I rely on my simple approach to weather because I don’t have a multi-billion dollar array of radar stations, geosynchronous satellites, supercomputer powered models, and highly trained meteorologists pouring over data moment by moment. The good news is apparently you don’t need any of those things to make a go of it… because using that wide array of resources, you’re just as apt to get it as wrong as I am by simply sticking my head outside to see if it gets wet.
Still, if you can convince an entire metropolitan area that you know what you’re doing and make a damned good living while getting it sort of right and sort of wrong, well, then my hat is off to you. All I wanted was a damned snow day today. I’d have settled for a few hours early release. But no. That was a bridge too far, because here between Philly and Baltimore, it was the snow day that wasn’t. I think from now on I’ll just stick with the personal observation method and maybe pick up a barometer at the next flea market I visit. Then I’d say my predictions should be about on par with the professionals.
If you’re reading this, it’s because the epic snowstorm of doom somehow managed not to result mass extinction or cause catastrophic damage to the state’s electric grid. Well done, and congratulations for riding out the storm unscathed.
In the future, I hope you’ll remember that just because a winter storm is given a fancy-pants name by The Weather Channel, that doesn’t mean it’s going to leave untold mayhem and chaos in its wake. In general, it means that they’re doing their level best to build hype and improve their advertising take. I hope you’ll join me in saying “Well played, weather forecasters. Well played indeed.”
In conclusion, let’s try not to let over-exaggerated reports of impending doom effect our behavior too much in the future. If today has taught us nothing else, it’s that we can all somehow manage to survive a mediocre rain/snow storm without turning to cannibalism, riots, or looting. Good work and carry on.