Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Storm By Any Other Name

In Oklahoma, we're no stranger to the storms. I mean we have two full seasons of storms, plus the optional heat wave in summer and icepocalypse in the winter. And how can we forget Tigernado? A storm so powerful it spawned a hashtag and an official t-shirt.

These have become just something that we endure. Not to minimize them, because we take storms and threats to human life very seriously. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt. Nobody wants to see any damage to property. But, regardless of what Oklahoma meteorologists model for us, living your life in a constant state of pucker factor 10 based on the weather is not a reasonable state of mind.

So yesterday, what with all the talk of tropical storm Bill approaching, I was more filled with worry about the dog at the vet getting spayed. (Spoiler alert: her legs are still a bit janky from the aftereffects of the anesthesia, but she's good now. Currently happy to be shredding a new chew toy.)

But the kids have become strangely attuned to the weather—like they know more about meteorology from watching the news than I've ever learned from a science class. I think it's a side-effect of living in Oklahoma, where "weather aware" is a state of being (like happy, tired, wide awake, weather aware).

"Why is the storm called Bill?" one of them asked.

I saw my window to drop some knowledge—as the mother of really smart 10 and 13 year old kids, these moments are become more rare. My input is constantly questioned and vetted by them and their fancy textbooks and Google. At least they know not to trust Wikipedia. See, I taught them something!

So I start on my spiel about why storms are named and how storms are named and how they alternate the boys and girls names when they stopped me.

"No, I mean why did they name it Bill? 'Bill' isn't scary. I mean, they could have named it 'Bob'—that's got a little more to it. I mean, 'Hi! I'm Bill! I'm your storm!' is not scary."

I mean, I guess if we were Republican, we would be scared of Bill Clinton. And I'm a Mac person, so I guess Bill Gates could be a little scary, in a technology-monopoly kind of way. And the Bills Pullman and Paxton do kind of scare me but only in the way that I have a hard time telling them apart and am not so much a fan of their films. There's Bill Nye but he doesn't challenge me personally, just challenges my ideas of science. Bill Cosby... well I'm just going to let that one alone. And unfortunately, the "Oh no, Mister Bill!" references are lost on the kids as they're too young to get it.

Normally in Oklahoma, we are bemoaning the drought in mid-June, this year, we're dealing with flash floods and storms named Bill. It's always an adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Oklahoma weather. Always an adventure. As Bill approached the DFW metro, we heard gentle reminders that flooding was likely to occur and to be prepared. (Our drama is usually based around car chases and shootings.) The News 9 Facebook posts sounded more like the apocalypse was headed your way. One storm, two different perspectives. :)