Growing up in Texas, thunderstorms, tornadoes, high winds and such were all just a part of life. You knew in spring and summer, you needed to have good batteries in the radio, a flashlight, candles or oil lamp ready should your power go out. And, if the wind got really bad, you and your family would go spend some quality time together in the cellar.
Our cellar had dirt walls for much of my growing up. My daddy had dug the hole himself. Over the years, he added improvements such as wooden walls, lights and even some benches that lined the walls. After I left home, I bemoaned the fact that it got really luxurious with the addition of a cot -- something my brothers used frequently when they were in high school -- but that's another story and I digress from the original topic.
"Severe" weather in Oklahoma is an event. This year in particular one of the local stations got some new-fangled weather machine that shows you in living color when the tornado is going to hit. Heck, it's so good that it might even tell you where to find all the mosquitoes in your back yard. As luck would have it this past May Oklahoma had no reported tornadoes. None. Zippo. That was a major disappointment to those weather and television folks who were dying to show off their new toy. Heck, they even went down to Lubbock, Texas to chase a tornado one evening. Despite the fact that a tornado in Lubbock posed no threat to viewers in Oklahoma, the television weather gurus interrupted regular programming.
Weather reports interrupting regular programming also are not a casual event. These weather reports feature a reporter, weatherman, anchor screaming into the camera as they warn of impending doom.
Last night, we had wind and rain. Wind and rain. No tornadoes. No hail. Just wind and rain.
You would have thought the apocalypse was upon us. The stations posted reporters at every intersection in the state. The screaming reporters warned us to take cover. They scared me. They scared my cat.
We watched the rain being blown around outside. Yep, it was pretty cool. And, yes, we had to admit it did remind us a little of the typhoons we experienced when living in a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific. Pretty cool, but not the end of the world. And certainly not worthy of a full scale "kiss your ass goodbye" alert.
When we had those storms when we were young, we would watch through the window, or climb into bed and listen to the rain pounding on the roof. It was a safe feeling. Everything was as it should be -- a summer storm that would bring needed rain to the area, maybe some puddles to play in the next day and occasionally we would collect some branches out of the yard. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
Wouldn't it be nice if Scary Gary and the rest of the crew could quit peeing on themselves in excitement over a dark cloud and some wind and let the rest of us enjoy the weather? Don't get me wrong, it's great that these guys have the technology to tell us when a tornado is really on the ground. And, heck, I was real impressed when I saw that crazy weather guy that chases the tornadoes in his helicopter.
But how about some self control and moderation?
So after last night, I've decided to take matters into my own hands. The next time regular programming is interrupted by these screaming weather reports, I'm going to pop in a movie and ignore them or just watch the storm move through. If a warning siren goes off, then I might consider tuning back in. But then again, I do have new batteries in my radio...
Liberating Plankton, part 1
6 days ago