Polar Vortex UnleashedPosted: February 23, 2014
I don’t know what it is with old people and the weather, but it seems that it’s a matter of great concern and considerable interest to them. Bill and I went to Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago and we overheard three different conversations going on between assorted seniors in various parts of the store and they were all discussing the weather. It was either about the unseasonable warm weather here in Phoenix, the unseasonable cold weather back east or dire predictions of even more unseasonable temperatures looming in 2014.
Mom is no exception to this phenomena. In her case, however, weather central is not Arizona but Michigan, where she was born and lived up until the early eighties when she moved here. When there are tornados somewhere in the central plains, she’s convinced they will move rapidly north into Michigan and urges me to call my brothers to warn them. To this I usually reply, “Mom, they’re 60-year-old grown men. I think they can watch local weather and move to a safe place if they have to.”
If there are torrential rains and flooding in the mid-west, she’s sure that the entire thumb area of Michigan will be consumed and renamed as another Great Lake. Or worse, break off and become part of Canada.
The repeated winter blasts along the east coast caused her major consternation. With each report of icy roads, blowing snow and traffic jams in the south, she worried that the storms would defy the rules of both meteorology and nature by making an abrupt U-turn, back tracking west and then traveling north, up I-75 and descending with a fury upon her beloved Michigan.
During the news, along with the latest updates of ice, sleet and snow travelling up the eastern seaboard, came the inevitable assortment of videos showing swirling white flakes, clogged roadways, abandoned vehicles and overworked snow plows as the storms moved steadily, and with seemingly malicious intent, from Georgia, up the coast to New York and beyond.
“Have you talked to your brothers about this?” she asked me as she nervously watched a video feed of snow swirling through Times Square on the six o’clock news.
“About what?” I asked as I placed her dinner on her lap tray.
“This storm,” she replied. “It could go to Michigan, you know.”
“Only if it decides to go backwards, which is not only doubtful, but also pretty much impossible,” I responded, heading back into the kitchen.
“Maybe not,” she argued. “The wind could change and push it toward Michigan.”
“Mom, the only way it would move from New York to Detroit is if it went through a worm hole.”
“Well that just doesn’t make sense,” she huffed. “What’s a wormhole got to do with anything?”
“You don’t know what a wormhole is, do you?” I asked from the kitchen doorway.
“Yes I do. It’s the holes they make in the dirt. You know, like in a garden.”
“No, it’s a… . Oh, never mind, you’re right. Garden holes. The point is, the weather system won’t move backwards. Jim and Dave are safe.”
“If you say so. But stranger things have happen,” she grumbled.
“Yeah, they have. And it’s mostly right there in the living room,” I muttered.