Blessings of weather forecasts

So it looks look Hermine is only going to brush Connecticut; as of mid day Monday, there’s only a low probability of tropical storm strength winds on the coast and the flooding will be limited to the low lying coastal areas that flood.

Hurricane Hermine spiral over Florida
Hermine over Florida. Public domain photo from “NASA/GSFC, Rapid Response.”

I spent hours Saturday removing what I could from topside the boat, replacing a worn line and adding more, going from the usual six to fourteen. It’s likely it’s going to turn out that wasn’t necessary.

Some people — hopefully not you, dear reader, are whining about “the hype” and “unnecessary” closures of things like Connecticut state campgrounds.

Get over it and be grateful. For most of mankind’s existence (200,000 years) weather has been a short term, sporadic and sometimes deadly phenomena. Consider the Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888 that struck so suddenly many children sent home from school died before they could make it. (Death toll: 235), or 1938 New England Hurricane, where the region was caught by surprise by insufficiently conservative forecasts. (Death toll: 682) A sudden 1940 blizzard in the midwest caught many duck hunters unawares; the death toll of 145 likely lessened by a couple foolish / brave man flying a new fangled flying machine dropping supplies. (Turkey death toll: 1.5 million, estimated.)

Sputnik went up in 1957 and now we see hurricanes days in advance. For the past decade — 0.00005 of human existence — smartphones have brought incredible amounts of data right into our hands.  Rather than scrambling under darkening skies I was able to prep the boat in fairly light winds and warm sunny skies. I don’t regret for one instance the time spent and am happy to have had the opportunity to prepare.

 

Connected

I do think social media is a great way to keep up with old friends and acquaintances, in moderation.

Being “connected” seems to be all the rage, and as I move through life, I’m finding more and more folks being online at the time.

I really wish they would stop, especially when I’m actually trying to walk somewhere and have to dodge around physically capable people moving slower than old folks with walkers. What’s so darn important on that tiny screen that it can’t wait? For the record, although obviously I’d providing basic first aid and/or calling 911 when you walk off that wall or get hit by the car,  don’t expect sympathy, okay?

More to the point, what ya’ll are missing is the truth that it’s actually me who’s connected, not you. I’m aware of the actual world around me, and am noticing things around me, whether it’s a cool flying insect I don’t recognize, clouds moving in layers, an unusual flower, the smells of nearby restaurants and neighborhood cookouts, or even my fellow human beings; the cute romance of a young couple, the parental bond between adults and young ones, or the funky style of someone self confident enough to go their own way.

Yes, the cat and dog videos are cute, but after the first twenty or so … really?

I think the cultural shift may go even deeper. When I was in my forties, there was a lot of concern about staying employable beyond due to age related changes and bias.  I don’t worry anymore, because the way many young folks are being raised, they’re not being provided the opportunity to learn how to focus on one thing for extended periods of time; it’s well understand that people multitasking 1 is a myth. When it comes to focus on one thing, if you a typical under 40 something, I’m going to kick your ass.

So put the damn device away and focus on the here and now. Or maybe just get out of the way instead of continuing your slow, drunken sailor walk down that hallway.


1 On the other hand, computers are wired to do context switches very well, so it’s fine to make them multitask.