Thursday, June 9, 2016

Whether we weather the weather

Sarge posted about the weather yesterday and had some great, fun and interesting observations.

I think I've finally been around long enough to understand -- I mean really understand -- that nature does not care one whit about our human desires when it comes to the weather (and pretty much everything else).

In and of itself, weather is endlessly fascinating. At least it is to me. Think of it; uncountable gas molecules larking about as they hug the surface of a spinning planet, each acting independently according to local fluctuations in energy, each affecting its neighbors and being in turn affected. And that's it, that's weather. Gas and energy.

Just as fascinating is human response to weather. Billions of humans larking about as they hug the surface of a spinning planet, each acting independently according to local fluctuations in energy, each affecting its neighbors and being in turn affected.

Weather is, of course, a constant topic of conversation. Over the last few years I've started an informal and pretty much unscientific experiment regarding human reactions to temperature change. During the winter, whenever the weather comes up in conversation, I say something like, "Yeah, it's cold as hell, and in x months we'll all be bitching about how hot it is." In the summer I switch it around.

Remarkably, at least to my simple mind, the responses are all eerily similar. In winter most folks say, "Yeah, but I love the heat. Give me summer heat anytime." And in summer, nearly everyone says the opposite.

We're just now having our first heat wave of the season. Actually, it's no heat wave at all, with temps only climbing into the mid-90's. But it came on pretty suddenly, following a pretty cool spring. So to be fair, a pretty abrupt change, 50's to 90's.

And today, as I go about my going about, everyone I meet is moaning some variation on the same theme...

I love my people! Everywhere I go I see myself reflected in their clownish, lemming-like behavior. In winter I hate the cold and long for heat, in summer I quickly tire of 90+ degrees and long for crisp and cool conditions. 

I live in a part of the world where it gets uncomfortably cold more often than it gets uncomfortably hot. I've seen minus 40 here many times, but to the best of my recollection I've only seen 110 one time. Our average summer high temperatures run mostly in the 80's, and then only for about 60-90 days. Despite a few heat waves here and there, summer is undoubtedly the season of easy living, and there's a lot to be said for that.

Of course I wouldn't be able to enjoy the easy living were it not for the annual dose of hard living. The seasons are a blessing.

And it's now Thursday morning tornado siren test season!


  1. OMG, 2 Live Jews are hysterical, "Oy, it's so humid, it's like a sauna in here" has been said by me many times (though without the "oy." I just might add that to my schtick.

    Excellent post Shaun!

  2. Thanks Sarge. Some of the "old stuff" is genius. :)

  3. Heard the siren and didn't know if I was supposed to Duck and Cover, run for the basement (we don't have one) or start running for the jet. I'm so confused. Here it's used to call out the volunteer fire department. Somewhat humorous to see the tourists (you can identify which ones are from the Midwest) start looking around for shelter when it goes off. Even on a clear day! Well trained I guess.

    1. Here the up and down tone is for fire, constant tone for tornado. I think there's one for nuclear attack as well; I've got an old CD pamphlet around somewhere that describes it and tells you where to go and what to do when the Reds attack. The whole tornado alert has been compromised; NWS issues tornado warnings for every thunderstorm (if it saves even one child!) and the sheriff's department blows the hooter for each one so it's completely ignored.

    2. In WI, it's up and down for fire, steady for tornado, too.

      I like September/October, best myself.