Weather Idiots

What happened to our sunny day?” Asked the mustachioed man as he walked by the windows in the cafeteria and gazed out the window at the darkening skies. I think you will appreciate the supreme effort it took me to prevent myself from pulling out the hairs of his mustache and putting them into his eyes.

OK, I am willing to confess and fully admit that I have an almost psychotic problem with the weather. I have become a kind of amateur meteorologist because I am terrified beyond description of thunderstorms. To me, a summer day may be gorgeous and perfect all day long but if the weather person is predicting storms that night, the entire day is ruined for me. When thunderstorms come through I stay awake, weather radio in one hand, regular radio in the other tuned to the all-news station, in my shoes and fully dressed, while watching the Weather Channel, while listening for the siren that indicates I need to head into the basement.

My ideal invention or construction project would be to build a concrete and iron box in my basement with its own generator, a tv set with cable, a comfortable bed, food, fridge and water. That is where I would sleep on nights when thunderstorms are predicted. Oh, the booth would also be soundproof. That way I could sleep soundly and the entire world could be destroyed by funnel clouds around me and I could sleep in blissful ignorance. A lot of people tell me how they sleep with the windows open and sleep better on nights when it rains and thunders. Not me. Not even close.

So, this obsession and compulsion gives me a heightened sense and appreciation of the weather. I visit weather websites constantly, watch the Weather Channel, and watch the weathermen on the news. But it drives me insane that even regular people DO NOT KNOW THE WEATHER. What the hell is WRONG with you people? I am amazed that people are amazed by what is going on in the weather! It’s on the front page of the newspaper, for crying out loud. There are ways to get the weather through your cell phone and PDA, just like my rant about the news.

Do you not want to know that the weatherman is predicting the gorgeous sunny day is supposed to turn into a torrential rain sometime after noon? Don’t you want to know that although it will be 70 by noon, it will be about 45 by four o’clock? And yet I am surrounded by people who say things like, “Was it supposed to rain today?” Or “Man, I can’t believe it got so cold!” Well, had you bothered to watch a news program or listen to the news and weather updates that go on a trillion times every hour on the radio or just read the freaking newspaper you would have known!!!!!

It’s not like I live in L.A. In L.A. and most Californian places the weather is the same, boring thing every damn day of the year. Even when it does rain it manages to do it for a very long time there. Of course the fact that Angelinos act like rain or a temperature of 50 degrees is the end of the world is endlessly amusing to those of us in the Midwest. See, here in Chicago the weather changes more often and faster than most people change their socks. How could you NOT watch the weather? How do you know whether or not to bring a jacket? How do you know what to wear if you don’t know the weather?

It’s such a simple thing. Unless you are watching WGN TV and Tom Skilling’s weather, the forecast segments of the newscast are very quick. Tom Skilling does a weather forecast that goes roughly two and a half hours. He is also the one who gets a glint of delight in his eyes and voice when he tells you funnel clouds are touching down in Lombard just outside the city limits. He was the one who actually called hailstones “icy balls of death” which I used as a headline not too far back. If you watch the morning news they do the weather every two minutes along with traffic. It takes even less effort than trying to find out what’s going on in the world.

No one in this day and age should be surprised by the weather. I have a friend who is a meteorologist and he says the computer models have become so advanced that, generally, those 5-day forecasts are pretty accurate. Anything past that is pure guesswork. Even so, that’s 5 days people where you should be aware that this coming Saturday is supposed to be rainy! Therefore you should not show up to the family picnic and exclaim, “Geez, I can’t believe it had to rain today of all days.” You had five days warning that it was supposed to happen!

I am so tired of the surprised expressions on people’s faces when they step outside in their short-sleeved shirts while I am there in my leather jacket and look shocked that it’s suddenly so cold. I knew that it was supposed to turn from summer to winter and all I did was watch the morning news that morning and the evening news the night before. This does not seem like too much to ask. Guys will put up with much more and go further out of their way to get the sports scores about sports they don’t even care about. I think the weather has more of a direct impact on your lives.

Anyone caught by surprise by the weather should be forced to stand in whatever weather caught them by surprise for eight hours and repeat, “I will watch the weather forecasts” eight hundred times.

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