There was a time when I never looked at weather forecasts. I'd just live in ignorant bliss, letting nature happen at me, at will, and without even the faintest desire to prepare for it.
Then I became An Old.
I don't know when it happened, exactly. Suddenly I found myself rushing to make my morning coffee, sit down at my computer, and load that morning's forecast from my favorite local weather people. If I had a tail, it would have been wagging.
"He must have had a good vacation," I yelled to Skylar not long ago as the weatherman engaged in awkward banter with that morning's anchorwoman. "He looks tan." The weatherman had been absent for the last week. We were worried.
It's the most pleasant part of the news, generally. The rest of the broadcast is filled with pandemics and murders and robberies and politics. But then, for three or four minutes, the hottest person in the production steps out in front of a screen, grinning like they've never known struggle, and makes every confident pronouncement sound like a birthday present.
"Sunny skies this weekend! Perfect for getting out for an afternoon in your favorite park!"
"Rain on Thursday! A nice day for some cozy baking at home!"
Every time I finish watching one of these segments I feel like going outside to high-five a fireman and kiss a veteran. What a beautiful world we live in. Such a wonderful place.
Then The Winter Of 2023 happened at us.
You've read all of that shit I wrote up above. I'm a weather enthusiast and optimist. I'm so supportive of our weather people that I've listed them collectively as the sole beneficiaries of my will. They're going to have a hell of a time dividing my Pog collection and taking turns feeding and bathing Skylar. But, I have my limits.
And I discovered that limit in the past few months.
It has snowed every day, all day long, 600 feet of snow every 24 hours, since Thanksgiving. It has snowed so much in Salt Lake City this part of the country is technically now considered an ocean.
I've watched a fascinating evolution happen to the local weather people over the months. In December they were giddy. In January they were ecstatic. All of this much-needed precipitation after so many years of terrifying drought!
In February they started acting like begrudgingly grateful. "The storms just won't let up," they'd say with forced smiles. "It sure is great, but boy it's getting hard to shovel snow every morning."
Then March happened. That's when the local weather people turned into war correspondents.
I'd pull up the morning broadcast with a lump in my throat. "Please, give us some good news," I'd whisper.
They stopped engaging in awkward anchor banter around March 15. "And now we'll turn to so-and-so with the weather report," the anchor would say without flexing a single muscle in their face. The camera would pan over to the weatherperson, now with bags under their eyes and looking like they want to see if they can get away with saying the f-word on network television.
We broke our all-time record for snowfall in our state a few weeks ago. And then it just kept coming.
Even Skylar, who would move directly to the North Pole if they opened a J.Crew there, stopped calling it "magical" every morning when we woke up to another 19 feet of snow that fell overnight. I actually witnessed the exact moment that broke him. It was last week, IN APRIL, when he went out in his Comfy to plow our driveway.
Last Monday I woke up and opened the shutters on our bedroom windows. Another 15 inches had fallen that night.
I sighed, made my coffee, and pulled up the morning weather broadcast. Skylar walked into the room and stood next to me, placing one supportive hand on my shoulder.
I hit play.
"I don't have good news," the weather person said, pointing to a seven-day forecast covered in snowflakes and temperatures that should be illegal.
A tear fell down my cheek.
~It Just Gets Stranger