Monday, July 23, 2012

Climate Change In The Land Of The Midnight Sun

I never paid much attention to the weather.

Why should you? People rarely go where the weather can get at you. A weather report on television always seemed like it was by, and for, lunatics. Watching a hair farmer in an off-the-rack suit wave his little stick-arms at a green screen depiction of the alleged weather happening somewhere else is for people with onions on their belt. Only people that have nothing to do with the outdoors watch the weather on TV.

It's lovely here in western Maine today. Around eighty, a little breeze, sun and clouds. You live for days like these. Well, I do. Everyone else here has barricaded themselves in their houses, windows shut tight, and turned on their air conditioning. If I had an opinion of them, I'd say they're sort of insane. I only recently moved here, so I don't have opinions yet. But it seems to me they could open the windows and be happy, but they won't. They pray to the weatherman deity and the weatherstripping gods now, and immure themselves in a plastic box with tiny rubber windows that they never open, are told it's so hot, and suffer. The suffering makes them happy, I surmise. Why else would they do it?

I've recently developed a nervous habit of checking the weather very carefully, very often. It was 22 below zero here one early morning two winters ago. I work in a semi-unheated workshop. I need to know about the temperature. I haven't seen TV in years, so I visit, which is the URL for The Weather Channel. I visit it a lot.

I've noticed a phenomenon at the Weather Channel website that was "a poser," as we used to say. The Weather Channel tells you what the high temperature at your location is at around three or four in the afternoon, no equivocation, just bam, here it is. That number stays there for the rest of the day. But if you check it the next day, someone's added between two and five degrees to it and entered it into the monthly schedule of high and low temperatures. Observe:

It was 84 degrees yesterday. I have a regular old thermometer, in the shade outside my window in my office, and I checked it, and took a screen cap. Here's today's monthly report of high temps from the same source:

My goodness. It says it was 87 degrees yesterday. It also says it was 93 degrees on the thirteenth. Yes, and I'm Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. I live here. I was paying attention on the 13th, too. It was 88. I wonder where the temperature butcher with the heavy thumb lives?

Let's try another outlet. The insanely named Weather Underground. (I guess the URL for PLO_Olympic_Squad_Weather dot com was taken already) What do they say the temp was yesterday?

Hmm. 84. Exactly what I observed, and what observed just before they didn't anymore. And they have 88 for the 13th. We're sympatico, I guess, but this lends confusion to the proceedings. No worries. Since The Weather Channel bought out The Weather Underground this month, I'm sure these discrepancies won't continue much longer. It'll be 105 in the shade yesterday every day except Christmas.

So all this leads me to admit a terrible secret, and forces me to apologize to you, my faithful readers. I am a fraud, and I'm sorry.

You see, I know that since I'm one of only fourteen persons that live north of Norway, Maine, and I'm the only one of them you know, you depend upon me to give you the skinny on all the various doings out here in the Willie-Wacks. And my terrible secret is this: I go to bed before 10:30 every night. I feel like a fraud giving you the impression I know what's going on around here, all day, when of course I'm obviously entirely unaware of the second sun that rises around 11 PM in Maine and incinerates the landscape after I'm asleep, pegs the high temp meter, and then sets before midnight. I imagine that all the locals know all about this second sun, and never told me about it, and snicker behind my back when they see me at the Dunkin' Donuts.

I just figured since there was ice in the birdbath in the morning in May, that I could get away with not paying attention all night. I apologize unreservedly, and for my penance, from now on I'll be sure to leave out a bowl of kibble for any Yetis that might pass by in the night, heading north, looking for a patch of shade.


Sam L. said...

You dang well better; that Yeti is a loooooong way from home and need to fatten up a bit. Prolly been visiting his cousin Bigfoot Sasquatch.

Casey Klahn said...

The trouble with you is you remember things.

JC said...

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

God bless Dorothy Parker.

Anonymous said...

what the heck is it with the weather infatuation in this nation? A CHANNEL DEVOTED TO WEATHER? AND PEOPLE WATCH IT - EVEN THE NON-COMATOSE?

Look out the freakin window - thats what the weather is - extrapolate/interpolate from that. Good grief.


Jennifer Matlock said...

Thanks for the hearty laugh! If I had to guess, the weather baron with the heavy thumb drives around in a vehicle with one of those newfangled temperature gauges in it. You know, because when you get in the car you're too distracted to notice whether it is hot, cold or just a mild sunny day? So you are completely dependent on this technology in your vehicle to give you a heads-up, before you accidentally step outside, say, on the surface of the sun. For some reason, those in-car gadgets function somewhat the same as the temperature probe they used to keep at every bank; these gadgets apparently feel the need to add a few degrees to the actual temperature - for good measure, I'm sure - just to make us feel like we've rightfully earned any discomfort we feel.

Sam L. said...

Well, itor, sometimes we're going someplace we can't see from our window, and it's kinda nice having an electric window to look at it from.

And then there's folks I know in the tornado/high-winds belt.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Jennifer- Cute baby.

Your comment got snagged in the spam folder, but I rescued it. Thanks for reading and commenting.