Lest the title of this little post mislead you, this is not about being sick. It really is about weather. But again, before you jump to conclusions, this is not about the anticipated rain, wind, and even snow that we are anticipating here in New England over the next 24 hours. On April 15.
Snow. April. Wrong.
But it isn't about that.
No, this is about my mom.
My mom has a fixation on weather. She is the Weather Channel's number one fan. She watches every day. Believes every word. And it dominates her thoughts and her phone conversations with our family.
Mom lives in the south. We live in a small town in Connecticut. Our town is never mentioned on the Weather Channel. New York is. Boston is. Sometimes Providence. So the weather she sees on TV is always reported from a town many miles away. Or even worse, just some general comment about "the northeast". And mom generalizes from that and assumes she knows precisely what is happening at our house.
And eye witness accounts will not persuade her differently.
For example, she never calls and asks "so how's the weather?" No, she already knows how the weather is. Or at least how she thinks it is. So she shapes the conversation accordingly.
Here is a typical phone call:
Mom: So is it raining hard?
Me: No, we don't have any rain.
Mom: But the TV says you do.
Me: Well, they got it wrong cause it's not raining.
Mom: But they say it's raining really hard there.
Me: Trust me, it's not.
Mom: Well I think it is cause they said it was.
How can you argue with that? She believes it because Willy the Weatherman said it was so. We've even gone so far as to instruct the kids to agree with whatever weather scenario she offers because trying to explain the real weather almost encourages her to argue with us. And if she talks to more than one of us during a phone call, she asks each of us about the weather, so even a crack in our solidarity is a foothold for her to wedge her beliefs into our reality.
But it goes deeper than that. It isn't just her total reliance on TV weather that makes this difficult. Oh no. What makes her weather mania particularly interesting and frustrating is that all weather, in her opinion, is bad.
Rain is always a lot of rain. A hot day is always too hot. A simple snowfall is a storm.
Undoubtedly, my mom heard the story of Noah's Ark at a young and impressionable age and it permanently colored her perception of weather events.
If she sees Willy the Weatherman report that the northeast has gotten a few inches of snow, she'll call immediately, with panic in her voice, to ask if we are "iced in". Even though she has visited here in the winter and seen the plows go by and clean the roads even while the snow is still falling, she has visions of us trapped in our home and eventually being forced to kill and eat each other, starting with the smallest and weakest. (Too bad for Daughter13!)
And every weather event is just like that in her head. All are bad. All are extreme. All put us at risk.
Mom called yesterday after having seen the forecast for the northeast. She knows we are expecting some rain today. Some wind. And in some places, even some snow. To be more precise, the real forecast for our town is rain and winds gusting to 35 or 40 MPH. Nothing too serious. But clearly she thinks we are at risk. Had we already gone shopping for extra food? Would we go hide in the basement if the wind started blowing a lot? Wouldn't the combination of the anticipated rain and snow just turn everything into an icy mess?
I tried to reassure her that we would be okay. It was just gonna be some rain. Maybe a bit windy. But we did not need to take survivalist-type precautions. We would be just fine.
My mom clearly thinks I'm crazy.