by Donna Johns
They’re at it again.
Hunkered in my recliner, I was cheerfully wasting an hour immersed in General Hospital. Will Sonny and Carly’s baby be all right, or does it have birth defects? When will they discover that baby Wiley, adopted by Brad and Dylan, is actually Michael’s son? And who pushed Liesel off the boat during Liz and Franco’s wedding?
Then it starts. Frantic Breaking News music. The meteorologist on duty quivers in excitement, his voice an octave higher than normal. “We are interrupting this broadcast to warn you of a string of thunderstorms bearing down on us.”
No kidding. It’s 90 degrees out, and you can cut the humidity with a knife. Of course there are going to be thunderstorms. That’s why I ran my errands early and planned on a quiet hour in Port Charles, watching characters with big problems to be unraveled and solved in six months.
Anyone who’s been on the planet for a few years knows from personal experience that heat and humidity mean that thunderstorms will follow. So, pray tell, what new information do you have to impart to me, Mr. Meteorologist?
“The storms are forming in Western Massachusetts.” Yep. They usually do.
“Strong winds, torrential downpours, thunder, and lightning.” Sounds like a thunderstorm to me.
“The storms will move east through Worcester and Central Massachusetts. They should arrive in the Boston area by four o’clock.” Marginally useful information. So I should be able to finish General Hospital before the storms hits and the power fails. Candle, lighter, and flashlight are on the table, just in case.
“There may be power outages. Prepare with candles and flashlights.” Duh. Can I watch my soap opera now?
Mr. Meteorologist’s voice begins to shake slightly. I swear his upper lip is trembling. “There is a chance of flash flooding. Also tornadoes.” He looks anxiously at his radar screen. Despite my abundant common sense, I quickly check to make sure I have sufficient toilet paper, milk, and bread to survive the coming apocalypse.
“We will update you as the situation warrants. And now, we return you to our regular programming.” Finally! After four commercials designed for the elderly (reverse mortgages, laxatives, life insurance, compression stockings), General Hospital resumes.
Ten minutes later, at 2:30, the thunderstorm moves into Waltham. Mr. Meteorologist reappears as thunder shakes the windows and lightning illuminates the living room. “The storms should reach the greater Boston area by 4:00.”
I turn the TV off.
I long for the good old days when Don Kent would check his barometer, poke his head out the door to scan the skies, and deliver a calm and mostly accurate weather forecast. Those days, alas, are gone for good. Now we have computer models, hysterical meteorologists, and wildly inaccurate forecasts.
Donna is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater and BOLLI member. She has two fantastic faux knees which set off the metal detectors at Fenway Park.