SURVIVING THE WEATHER: TO WITHER OR NOT

"Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it."-Charles Warner

Bad weather: One of the most controversial, trite topics available to us. Many people rely on it to begin a conversation. Some businesses thrive on it-- riding its crest. School children, who have failed to adequately prepare for an imminent test, pray for it. Their parents would gladly trade a week of loud, heavy metal concerts for a break in it! We can't live without it, and lately, it's becoming difficult to live with it, too. Some people find it a nuisance; others, a hazard.
And then there are those who are rendered helpless, angry or panic-stricken by the endless winter. They sit silently watching the relentless pummeling of the weather, its icy chill piercing their thoughts, blanketing their day with limitations. "How am I going to get to work?" "When will this end-- what if I run out of food?" "What are they waiting for-- why don't they salt the roads?" "If these kids stay home from school one more day, I'm going to go stark-raving mad!" "I'm stuck in this house with nothing to do. It must be cabin fever. Now what am I supposed to do?" The last instance is particularly interesting. Years ago, before the advent of fifty-degree winter days and frustrated ski-resort owners, it snowed frequently during January and February. It was winter, it was supposed to and it was expected. And people dealt with it-- negotiated their activities around it. Then, staying home during harsh weather was simply known as, "staying home." And people prepared in advance, placing those clumsy chains on snow tires, purchasing and storing goods in advance, arranging and performing tasks at home, and so forth.
Today, it's known as, "cabin fever." And people prepare for this in advance, too. First, the weather service issues a gloomy report well in advance of a storm; sometimes as much as five days! This provides people with the opportunity to run a lot of negative internal dialogue about being trapped, well in advance, and begin feeling panic, also in advance of the storm! As these long-term predictions are about as dependable as was Pat Brady's jeep, "Nellybelle" in the Roy Rogers Show (Remember that?), most individuals would do well to consider the weather service "track-record" (their best prediction is often, "continued dark tonight, getting light by morning") and delay experiencing panic.
But, alas, the internal dialogue often becomes too loud to ignore, and the panic rushes in. The results are manifested in a variety of ways. The sight of people scurrying about a supermarket, buying as if preparing for their last day on earth, is reminiscent of a scene from, "The Day The Earth Stood Still"...minus James Arness dressed as a giant Robot. Who thinks about storing the excess goods? Until two days later when the storm ends.
Then there are those who panic behind the wheel. Whether traveling to work, school, a doctor, errands or home, driving can be frightening, if not hazardous. Obviously, there are times when traveling is definitely prohibitive and motorists would do well to remain indoors. Thinking of driving at these times is simply unthinkable. Yet there are those who think about it often-- long before they have to venture out; and when driving conditions are difficult but not totally obstructive. Sometimes people experience this panic while actually driving and, consciously or otherwise, increase their speed in an effort to get some place safe-- quickly!. But then they don't. This confirms their worst fears. Moreover, The Department of Transportation fields dozens of angry calls about unsalted roads. People demand to know "why" not really caring to hear an answer, but as a set-up for the slam. Tempers flare and nothing is accomplished. One such individual, when told of delays in salt shipments from South America bellowed, "Sure. But if salt were a controlled substance, it would flow freely from South America! Wouldn't it?" How can you avoid laughing when you think about that? Actually, humor is one of several useful ways to combat intensely negative emotions associated with winter weather:


  1. Rent a good comedy, make some popcorn, invite a nearby relative or friend and relax!
  2. Close the drapes and begin a task you otherwise would not if the sun shone brightly...like your tax preparations.
  3. If possible, bring work home with you and complete it there.
  4. Contact a loved one to avoid feeling isolated. If long distance calls are too expensive, write. Enclose a picture so others can see what they are missing. Remember, a letter from a loved one is the next... next best thing to being there!