As I write this, the snow has begun to gently fall, once again blanketing streets and lawns and turning our world into a magical wonderland.
I know what you’re thinking: “She’s now going to turn that observation into some snarky remark about the weather.”
Wrong! I mean every word of it. I have loved this winter, and every storm the season has brought. This is what winter should be, and what it hasn’t been in many years. Snowfall after snowfall after snowfall. I have lost count.
Unlike what appears to be 99% of the population, I am not sick of the weather. I’m sick of the interminable weather reports. Yes, people want to know what the forecast is, but must the weather be the lead “news” story every night? It is becoming farcical.
Last week, when things were going to warm up a bit, the following actually happened on one of the local TV stations:
As the 6 p.m. news broadcast began, the hosts offered a couple of video clips and teasers about the upcoming stories. A vicious mugger preying on women in Queens. An update on Ukraine. But first, this Weather ALERT! Which turned out to be, “We’ve had rain all day, but the weather is improving.”
I am not making that up. It is a quote.
That stupidity was trumped Friday night on another station, which had one of its newshounds doing people-on-the- street interviews about (of course) the weather.
Since even TV has concluded we are all fed up with “breaking news” stories about shoppers seeking rock salt and shovels, the reporter decided to focus on more crucial matters. Approaching a woman about to enter a supermarket, he asked, “What do you buy when you’re shopping before a storm?”
She answered, with long pauses, “Uh, meat …. chicken …. rice.”
“Things you eat?” he said.
End of report.
I am not making that up either.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so feeble. I can grasp the need for weather news, but we have become obsessed by it. News12 New Jersey has “Weather on the Ones,” meaning weather reports every 11 minutes. Year-round. Every season. Even when all is sunshine and roses. Do we think the weather changes every 11 minutes?
I long for the snows of yesteryear, which crept up on us unheralded. Or just about. Unless there was a hurricane or actual (not social-media rumored) blizzard pending, the weather report was at the tail end of the nightly news. Where it belongs.
Have we had one real blizzard this winter? I can’t recall. Every dusting is treated with the same media overkill.
I long for the mornings of my childhood, when I awoke to the jingly sounds of tire chains on the street below. That’s how I knew it had snowed overnight.
And if the storm had been bad enough, school would be closed. But we didn’t sit inside texting each other all day. We went out. And built snowmen. And snow forts. And had snowball fights. Or maybe just plodded through the hip-high drifts pretending we were trying to reach the South Pole.
(Google “South Pole,” children, if you are confused. You might also Google “tire chains” while you’re at it.)
On that warm day last week, yet another reporter was out on the sunny streets of a suburban town, interviewing passers-by — about the weather, of course.
A mother with two young sons expressed her delight at finally being able to allow them out of the house to play.
When we were young, you couldn’t get us into the house after a snowfall. We’d succumb only when our mittens were so wet, or frozen, we had to change them.
But sometimes even that didn’t deter us.
In Down Neck Newark, St. Aloysius Church vestibule, which was always open, had lovely steamy radiators with metal covers, upon which we could dry those mittens, or at least melt the ice that coated them.
We could warm up at the same time.
But we never stayed long. There was too much adventure waiting in the snowy streets. In a world that had become a magical wonderland.