It’s been a long winter. By my estimate it’s been about fourteen months long at this point, and it’s not looking to be better soon. I’ve been trying to pretend I just need to keep up a good attitude about this, but my best source of forced optimism about the state of things — Dogeweather.com — is starting to crumble under the pressure. It’s gone from proclaiming “wow chilly” and “such winter” and “very below freezing point” to “such brrr” and then “so dismal” — and that isn’t even a joke, I really got that last night — to “ugh” and “why me” and “merciful heavens” and finally it’s started redirecting me to Grumpy Cat Weather.
I like relying on weatherunderground.com for checking on weather, and it doesn’t usually mislead me, apart form a little stretch the other day when the temperature was NA Fahrenheit (or -9999 Celsius). The other day one of their little side ads suggested, “Give a friend the gift of weather”. Now I’m considering ordering for myself something small and cheap, maybe a late-morning fog or one of those odd little flashes of lightning you sometimes get as you’re trying to go to sleep and that isn’t accompanied by thunder or a storm or even other flashes of lightning. I don’t need them, obviously, but I’m dying to know how they’re packaged. I have to suppose in something non-conductive and resistant to moistness, but there’s literally two or three kinds of package like that.
So it’s going to be sunny and in the mid-teens tonight, dropping to dark and snowy after sunset, following which it’ll be snowy before sunrise and rise to the low 20s, after which it’s going to pop up to the upper 50s with three to eight feet of snow, then back down to single digits with intermittent rains of ghost dolphins using bow-and-arrow to chase down homoiousian heretics, and then everybody just giving up and staying under the electric blanket. Going to be a heck of a week.
And now the weekend forecast:
Friday. Highs in the upper 200s, Kelvin, or the lower negative 40s in one of those freak temperature scales almanacs say exist but can’t cite for actually being used by anyone but the freak temperature scale inventor. You can get into a good argument about whether “freak” refers to the scale or the inventor over on Usenet group alt.weird.mensuration over in the thriving Usenet community of 1997.
Friday evening. Nagging showers find their focus, indeed their point in life, by getting to the question of whether you’ve got snow tired put on the garage for the winter haul. They won’t be sated by how a garage really doesn’t need snow tires except as an attractive accessory, since most fixed structures — whether attached or detached — have given up their nomadic ways and need very little traction power. Such is life.
Saturday Morning. Even if you were to wake up and even if you found any cartoons playing you won’t recognize any of them, and any attempts to complain about this would be met with your friends insisting the cartoons you used to watch weren’t any good anyway, not even the Looney Tunes, which were from the later years they were boring. Some friends. Skip it.
Saturday. Probability of more than 40 percent that you’ll sit bolt-upright in bed, realizing that you finally have the epilogue scene for that roman-à-clef you were writing back fifteen years ago when you were just out of college. While the original manuscript is now lost somewhere in an avalanche of 3.5″ discs all labelled “Saved Civ II Games” (look for the one where you keep a little Aztec colony intact on Madagascar just so you can finish the spaceship instead of conquering the Earth in 1787), you can still open up a fresh document and start typing your great closer:
Fifteen years out of college, Protagonist [ you don’t remember what exactly he was named but he probably had some name that should go there; anyway, that’s what you have editors for ] was lazing about one Saturday morning when he sat bolt-upright in bed realizing, “I could just look up what `roman-à-clef’ means!” He clapped his hands together, smiled to himself, and fell back into the pillows and the blankets that were oh, so warm. So very warm. So embracing.
However, you won’t, because you’ll almost certainly fall back into bed where it’s so warm and easy to let that novel wait until some better time to deal with it.
Saturday Night. The nagging rain turns on its heels and goes up to its room, slamming the door on its way. This is because it’s going through a phase, the Moon promises, and it should outgrow it soon enough. This little white lie covers up the fact that it can’t possibly be outgrown soon enough. When the rain emerges it’s switched over to a passive-aggressive layer of fine volcanic soot, but only because it wants attention. Pay it no heed.
Sunday Morning. Disturbing dreams seem to be a recollection that you don’t have an editor for your roman-à-clef anyway, or if you did, you forgot where you left him. 25 percent chance you’ll jot down a note to check exactly what you did leave in that storage locker you moved away from back in 2007, but won’t be able to read it when you wake up. In fact they reflect a high-pressure front moving in, bringing along those little solid lines with triangles pointing out on the weather maps.
Sunday. An abnormal mid-day low is reached when you put a $10 in the automated car wash machine and don’t get any change, and don’t get a car wash except for the initial spray of water as you drive in, and the cashier inside the gas station insists that it can’t possibly have taken your money because you’re just supposed to enter codes there. Best remedies include using the giant sized mugs for hot chocolate mixed with marshmallows and whipped cream or just kicking the back of the garage until it rolls down the driveway a little.
Sunday Night. The nagging rain shifts over to a petty, snarky bundle of attitude that’s really funny for the first couple minutes and then leaves you feeling kind of hollow. Let it pass.
I don’t buy a lot of stuff online, because apparently deep down I still believe it’s 1995 or something, but this offers the benefit that I get to enjoy the big marketing computers flailing around desperately in the attempt to figure out what else I might want to buy. So I get suggestions like this from Amazon:
You recently purchased Billy Bragg’s Greatest Reminders That You’re Voluntarily Collaborating With A Corrupt System and … uh … Leapfrog Explorer 3: Dora The Explorer Searches For Spock? The Heck? You might also like:
- A History Of The United States Weather Bureau Through 1960, by Robert D Whitnah.
- The Blu-Ray edition of forgotten 1980s sitcom Mama Malone for some reason.
- A 14-foot-long mass of undifferentiated blue-green matter.
- This one potato chip that looks like a significantly larger potato chip.
- Two dollars off a purchase of auto parts maybe?
- Staples, all sizes, all colors, some of them made of pearl.
- Maybe a cohomology group of an unexpected order? I dunno, you’re the math major.
All this is quite silly, of course, because there’s only one thing that I really want. It’s the same thing everyone wants: to occasionally have a day turned into a great one by hearing somebody unexpectedly playing the theme to Shaft. Don’t tell Amazon.
It’s a trifle warm out, which you can tell because it’s not safe to pick your trifles up by your bare hands anymore. You need at least two layers of oven mitts and then to just leave them where they are. It’s hot enough that I just got a letter from Discover offering me $7,500 more in credit if I put the card in the freezer already please. The garage has melted, and I just saw a cumulus cloud burst into flame. It’s hot enough that I phoned myself from back in January and found it’s actually warmed up three degrees back then, so now (back then) I’ll be able to have skipped buying the long underwear I needed last winter. So as you gather, it’s been warm enough to leave logic itself half-baked.
Since it is the 11th of the month I should make my regular update of how my cursive handwriting has progressed. As everyone knows I’ve lost the ability to write a script “Q”, but that’s because all humanity was drained of that knowledge by that visit of alien space bats who were trying to encourage block letter printing back in 1998, and no blame attaches to me for that. My lowercase “z” continues its gradual slide into being just a little scribbly cartoon of a lightning bolt, and I find today that it’s impossible to tell the difference between me writing the word “tuition” and me crossing out the word “tuition”. This will save time, in all those cases where I write the word “tuition” in cursive, scratch it out, and realize I wanted it there after all, and applications to this department for contexts in which I need to will be accepted through the 18th.
So this morning as I got up it was 72 degrees Fahrenheit and blizzarding, which is when I’d had enough of that. Yesterday it was -15 and there was a hot, muggy rain falling; the day before it was the upper-40s with scattered asteroids, and just before that it was the mid-20s with interminable reports on the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. I’m loathe to do anything mechanical around the house but I did go around back, unplug the weather, wait ten seconds, and then plug it back in while holding down the option-flower-P-R keys to reset the PRAM. That usually fixes these problems, but now it’s in the high 60s and there’s a zephyr in the breakfast nook pointing at me, laughing, and scattering Golden Grahams on the floor. I think we’re going to have to get a whole new weather and start from scratch.
I didn’t think it had been that rainy or windy a week, but now the house across the street and up kind of a little bit — I want to call it cat-corner but that sounds precious — went and lifted a mast and unfurled some sails. I thought this was just foolishness, but sure enough, they cast off and have been making their way north. This is really impressive since they have to tack to do it, and watching the place lurch side to side through the street is impressive. They’re waiting for the chance to turn onto the more major street now — they’ve had someone flicking a light on and off in the kitchen window — and I’m curious whether they’re going to try making it to the river or if they’re hoping the Interstate is flooded.
No, I will not check your Interactive Tornado Map, and what is wrong with you that you think the words “Interactive Tornado Map” could ever be a soothing combination in a sentence? I want tornadoes in the non-interactive form pioneered by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton wherein they appear only in movies that I still haven’t seen. And I say that as if not seeing Twister were some kind of point of pride, instead of the second-most minor of my life accomplishments, after only “not having eaten at Taco Bell”.
So the groundhogs have seen their shadows, or they haven’t, or in one case the shadow came up and was frightened to see its groundhog. But consider these other animals and their prognostications:
- A fruit fly emerged into the dining room, forecasting the throwing out of the bananas that have been in the pantry since October.
- A buffalo poked its head out of a tree knothole in northern Rhode Island and sneezed. This forecasts that Mrs Wall will be giving a surprise pop quiz in English class Monday. Despite being so observed this should still catch everyone by surprise as Mrs Wall teaches science.
- A dikdik in southern Indiana checked Facebook to find her best friend had written a lengthy essay that mentioned “reverse discrimination” in the first paragraph. It’s going to be at least three weeks of her telling her that gosh she’s eager to read it and get involved in the comments thread but she’s just got so much to do she can’t possibly respond tonight.
- Xoredeshch Sfath, the great cosm-dragon, opened one eye in a panic, noticed that it was still 5:32 and his alarm isn’t for nearly 45 minutes, and went back to dreaming sleep. This gives the universe another 1,728 years of uninterrupted existence unless he has nightmares.
That’s not to say people are wrong to pay attention to groundhogs, just that they aren’t everything. Yet.