Sometime in 2012, I turned into a weatherman.
Not a meteorologist, just a man who cares too much about the weather.
I exhibited an unnecessary concern about the low temperature. An unhealthy interest in 10-day forecasts. A strange affection for the expected high temperature in selected cities.
All that’s left for me to do is to sit in front of the TV, watching The Weather Channel, for hours while wearing a Mike Pechner T-shirt.
Fascination with the weather isn’t anything new, of course. People have been wondering and wishing for news on it since the first farmer planted a seed. But I don’t have crops. And I don’t have any real reason to care about the weather – unless you count the fact that I don’t have a heater in my car.
A few years ago, Mrs. Brad got me a mini weather station – and by “weather station,” I mean an outside thermometer that registers the temperature and barometric pressure on a remote display inside my house. I was off and running. The next year, she got me a Kindle, onto which I downloaded a weather app that gives me the current conditions, hourly forecast, 36-hour forecast, 10-day forecast, weather alerts and more for as many cities as I want.
So here’s what happens now: I get up in the morning and check the temperature gauge on my bedside “weather center,” then announce it to Mrs. Brad. While getting dressed, I check the outside thermostat and compare it with the electronic device by my bed. Later, I get online and check the weather app and see what the forecast is for the next several hours and several days.
Later, I’ll check the weather at possible Stanhope retirement sites – currently Weaverville, Ashland, Ore., and Portland, Ore. I look at the next 10 days there and compare them to Suisun City, which is still in the pole position for retirement because of its mild weather.
Why do I care so much about the weather? Why do I project the day the temperature will first plunge below freezing? Why do I guess when we hit 100 degrees in the summer? Why do I care about rain storms going above the 1-inch mark?
It’s probably an extension of my love of sports statistics, something that began in elementary school. If it’s measurable, it’s interesting. And it’s also influenced by a childhood spent watching evening news shows with weather forecasts done poorly.
(Side story: About 20 years ago, the Daily Republic had a phone service where people could call to get lottery numbers, sports scores and the weather forecast. I would occasionally talk the other copy editors into letting me do the “forecast,” then I would spout things like “Brrrr! It will be a little chilly in Green Valley, so throw on an extra blanket. And in Vacaville, don’t put away your umbrellas! There might be a few sprinkles during the morning commute!” I still have no idea if anyone listened.)
I also suspect my weather fascination might be cultural. This might be what aging white males do – I remember my dad got interested in weather statistics in his 40s.
What’s next? I presume within a few years, I’ll be charting the barometric pressure, watching the History Channel and complaining about how kids aren’t like they used to be.
I don’t know.
But here’s what I do know: There’s a chance of rain today, but it could get as high as 60 degrees early in the week. That will be the first time we’ve reached that level since Dec. 10, 2012.
Isn’t that fascinating?
Reach Brad Stanhope at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.