Dude: It’s Raining!


The Weather Channel has changed their website again.  I hate that.  We used to go for decades without any changes to our phone service or television.  Now we can’t go eighteen months without changes.  It’s very stressful.  I don’t want to waste all my time re-learning how to use systems that are supposed to serve me, not have me serve them.  And what’s the point?  It worked fine the way it was, so why change it?

The main reason they are changing it is because boys like to tinker.  (Mostly) young men like to play with their computers, so they go to college to learn how to play bigger and better, then they get jobs because companies have a computer culture:  they didn’t get on the Internet by themselves; they got on because young men fresh from college put them on, so they just keep hiring them.  These young men keep getting new ideas about how to use computers and their companies keep implementing them.

Why doesn’t anyone say, “No, it’s fine the way it is?”  Just because it can be changed doesn’t mean it should be changed.

The first page of the The Weather Channel (TWC) is now printing my address over top of some other information.  How do I tell that to TWC?  Ever tried to send them a message?  I have.  It’s almost as bad as trying to send an email to CNN, which is impossible.  And on the top of another TWC page there is a clickable spot that says “Alert me when it rains.”  Sheesh.  Try looking out the window, dude.  What have we come to as a society?

Another clickable place says, “Show All 15 Minute Details.”  In the first place, it should be “Show all 15-minute details,” but we’ll let that go by.  In the second place, who do we think we are that we need to know the weather in 15-minute increments?  The weather is not that precise.  Mother Nature will do what she will do, and we had better stop thinking we can control it.  I remember my grandfather standing out in the field beside the tractor, hat in hand, looking up at the sky.  He lived in harmony with nature and always had a good sense of when and how the weather was going to change.

And that’s the whole deal, isn’t it?  We no longer live in harmony with nature.  We are driven by young men in windowless offices who need to be told when it’s raining.  My friends, you are marching into disaster and I’m just glad I won’t be around to experience it.  You are a human being, i.e., you are part of the natural world but you are not living that way.  You walk down the street tweeting; you jog through suburbia plugged into your sound system; you drive through the countryside talking to someone thirty miles away.  You are never present in nature.

The Holy Koran repeatedly refers to heaven as ‘a garden, with a river running under it forever.’  They’re talking about a return to Eden.  I, for one, look forward to that.  (And that river-running-under-it business was the Lord talking to a bunch of people who lived in the desert—ask any farmer what matters most to him:  water.)   My healthiest, whole-est times have been in nature.  Gardening is worm-therapy. 

I used to live in a first-floor apartment in an undeveloped area.  I had a bird feeder suction-cupped to my window and I’d lay in bed with my bird book and learn about the birds.  I inherited the bird book from my mom.  On each page, she had written down when and where she had sighted each bird; I continued to do the same thing.  It was a two-generation, thirty-year journal of our movements.  I have no daughter to whom I can pass it on.  That link with nature ends with me.

And somewhere in a windowless room at The Weather Channel sits a fellow who doesn’t know that you can tell if it’s going to rain by looking at the sky and sniffing the air.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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