Controlling response to weather not easyEarlier this month, after a long, cold and snowy winter, the temperature climbed into the 50s, the sun dried the boards of the porch floor and the snow melted and ran in happy little rivers down the gutter and into the storm drain at the corner. My reaction? “Oh, man. Why did this have to happen?”
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
Earlier this month, after a long, cold and snowy winter, the temperature climbed into the 50s, the sun dried the boards of the porch floor and the snow melted and ran in happy little rivers down the gutter and into the storm drain at the corner.
“Oh, man. Why did this have to happen?”
I know. Everywhere I looked people were peeling out of their winter coats, leaving scarves and gloves and insulated boots in their mud rooms and striding down the wet — but not ice-covered — sidewalks, smiling at each other and doing the whole “How about this weather, huh? Did you think winter would ever be over?”
Young people who passed our house on their way to and from the high school and the middle school were wearing shorts and T-shirts. OK, that’s no big deal. I’ve seen kids walk past on their way to school wearing T-shirts and shorts in the dead of winter. They usually aren’t smiling, though. They’re too busy looking bored, making sure nobody who drives by will think they made a mistake and didn’t dress for the weather. Except for the young folks, the people I saw were fresh out of winter gear and ready for warm days.
Why wasn’t I joining in the fun? Simple. I knew as soon as the melt started, the rivers and creeks and lakes would start rising. Part of my job these days is to hang out with people who respond to natural disasters. As the careful reader probably noticed, I didn’t say I responded to the disasters. I just said I hang out with the people who respond. We had seven presidentially declared disasters last year, my first year on the job, so I must be pretty good at what I do.
Well, there we were, feeling the warm sun and soft breeze, listening to the giggling water as it fell through the storm drain, watching the happy folks as they passed our house. I guess I sighed, or muttered, or gave some sign that, while it may have been a day the Lord had made, nobody could force me to rejoice and be glad. Nancy looked over and said, “Oh, quit it. What are you going to do about it? Nothing, right?”
Exactly right. I’m not going to do anything about it, not yet, for sure.
I suppose I could quit my job. I kind of enjoy it, though. Besides, what else would I be doing from Monday through Friday to make those days any different from Saturday and Sunday? When I left the paper, my friend Virge gave me a T-shirt that says “Every day is Saturday.” Who would have thought I’d be one of those guys who didn’t like every day to be Saturday?
I tried that for a while. I had four or five months with nothing much to do after I left the newspaper job and before I went back to work. The first week or two were glorious. I’d get up, grab some coffee, look over a list of things I might do that day, and then I’d go sit in the front room to drink that first cup and watch the world out the window. Nancy, meanwhile, would be getting ready for work.
When she left, there I’d be, sitting in khaki shorts and a T-shirt, sipping coffee and reflecting on the meaning of life. I guess some people really get into that. They’re the people for whom this whole business of retirement was invented. Me, I wanted something to do, and I wanted people around. Odd, because anyone in my family will tell you I don’t like people around and I love the world best when I have nothing to do.
After a month or so of that retired bliss, I started looking for work. I got a job, and it’s a good one, except when it causes me to badmouth the arrival of warm weather. As the counselors in my family would remind me, the job doesn’t make me do that. They’d say, “You can’t change the weather, but you can change your response to it.”
Hey, I’m working on it. Don’t expect miracles here.