Thursday, May 26, 2011

Civility and approaching storms.

Living in what I think of as Middle America, you learn to expect violent storms when the air heats up in spring or summer. This year the skies seem to be intent on keeping us on the edge of panic. Again last night we Louisville KY residents were "up all night" but not for any purpose of pleasure.

About noon the weather heads had put a crawl on the bottom of the screen announcing a long list of southern Indiana and north central Kentucky counties under a thunderstorm warming. This soon moved to a tornado watch. At 6 p.m. that changed and live meteorologists in front of those brilliant maps, tracking a line of storms 300 miles west of us, stretching 100 miles north to 80 miles south. The entire half hour of the local news was pre-empted and we got to see 10 minutes of national news after commercials. Then there were a few minutes of the two game shows and the remainder of the evening it was a non-stop rotation of five meteorologists reporting the storm.
I fixed supper, watched a cable show, talked to a couple friends on the phone and about 10 minutes before the predicted hit, turned off the computer, dug out my flashlight and sat on the top step watching the storm. First there was wind, then lightening, then thunder then rain so hard I could see only lights across the street. In ten minutes all that remained was rain.

I'm glad it worked out this way. The destruction in the south and near west is almost unbelievable this spring. From reports having a warning of approaching storms helps. Paying attention to the warnings and doing what you can is not enough.

The three broadcast stations each have full blown news organizations and their commercials year round remind us of the piles of money they have spent to buy the latest technology to keep us informed. After a day and night of repetitive minutia weather reporting, it seems less worthwhile to me. Do I in a big city need to know when a storm is going to pass over Leota Indiana? Do I need to know when it will pass Deputy or Memphis or through the bottoms of Brownstown? Who in those little towns sees this reporting? The place this reporting would be valuable is the radio. After all we are supposed to be hunkered down with our battery operated weather radios anyway. To the people sitting somewhere watching TV it's not necessary.
Consideration of others is a kind thing. I believe people who are considerate witness to everyone.

As was recently reported a woman got on an Amtrak train in Oakland for a sixteen hour trip. She talked loudly on her cell thereafter. Efforts by her fellow passengers and the train conductor had no impact, she continued to loudly talk. The train was stopped between stations in Salem Oregon and the local police arrested her for being an unruly passenger. A witty commenter on wrote, "She was later charged with unspeakable crimes against humanity and sentenced to live on some distant planet where there are no reception bars, ever."

That last part is a joke though popular correctness does often over react.

Wouldn't it be lovely if all similar incidents were so well addressed?

Being a voyeur, I enjoy listening to one side of conversations in public. The hardest part is pretending I'm not listening but when a guy is apologizing to his wife, girlfriend, fuck buddy for having done some unspeakable thing, I only wish there was video. That would be a reality show worth my time.