For someone with agoraphobia, the notion of staying inside is very appealing. When winter comes, and it’s harder to go outside, the temptation is to curl up under a warm blanket and read a book with a hot beverage by one’s side. But it is dangerous to let this feeling take control of one’s life, so we must venture outside.
This is no big deal, right? Wrong! This is and always will be a big deal. But the choice is always ours: stay or go. I choose to go. Lately I have noticed that this is becoming more and more difficult, and not because of the fears that float around inside me. It is because of what I see and here all over the place. And I have come to the conclusion that we are starting to become obsessed about the weather.
Just the Facts
Please understand that I do not suggest we take the weather lightly or that we ignore it. That would be foolish. Severe storms do happen; and if we are prepared, lives can be saved. What I am saying – and if anyone else has noticed, please let me know – is that we tend to think every little change in the weather is the End of Days.
We have apps on our phones and computers that inform us about each degree change in temperature. Our TV’s interrupt programming with bright orange banners and ear-piercing buzzers that could wake up the dead, all to warn us that a snowflake has been spotted 20 miles away and we better be prepared or else we will die.
Weather terminology seems to be slanted toward the ominous and foreboding. The truth is a “winter storm” means nothing more than a snowfall. See how pleasant it sound when I say snowfall instead of storm? They mean the same thing. A “winter storm watch” means we may or may not see some snow fall. And a “winter storm warning” means that we will most likely have snow fall. It does not mean blizzard is approaching. It does not mean that the Earth is coming to an end. There is no correlation between the term “storm” and the concept of severe weather.
Guess Who Is to Blame
As much as I would rather not say this, I must because it’s true: once again the media is preying upon our survival instincts to get us to tune in. I don’t blame the weather forecasters. They tend to love bad weather. My college roommate was a meteorology major, and I know several TV weathermen – and they all pride themselves on accuracy. So I guess that leaves “the suits,” the people in charge. They make the decision to start the weather crawler at the bottom of the screen in November and leave it up until April (around here, at least – I’m not sure how it is where you live).
Sign of the Times
What did we do in the old days? How did we cope? Did we see a snowflake and run and hide in a dark room – or did we go out and enjoy the weather, even the “bad” weather? Wasn’t it fun to get cold and wet and come inside and have hot chocolate? Wasn’t it fun to sled down a hill, even if you got a face full of white powder? I live in the Snow Belt and I have heard dozens of stories of people stranded in their cars, or stuck at people’s homes when the heavy snow hit. That never stopped them from going out ever again.
There comes a time when you have to say “enough is enough!” As long as you are prepared, you dress correctly, you obey the (real) warnings, and you take caution when traveling, there is no reason to let a little bad weather control your life or even spoil it.
Let’s not become weather wimps! Please excuse me now – I have to hide under the covers because I saw a snowflake.