Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Dude, Hang Ten

Dude, Hang Ten

I knew it would be just a matter of time before stuff like this came out of the hurricane season. There's already folks taking clips from billabong and pawning them off as video from Ivan (or Charlie, or Jeanne, or whatever named storms we will have in the gulf this year.)

Did you know that there was a hurricane "Carol" once? Actually, those who've met me can probably attest to the fact that there's been more than one (but only this one has a fondness for Doritos.)

Strange thing about hurricanes and twisters too-you always seem to have the best weather the day before and the day after. It's almost like BAM! the world trashes down on your doorstep one cruel day, without warning, only to then blow out of your life as quickly as it came. I suppose modern day weather equipment has advanced to the point where we can sort of "predict" where the storms will be, in as much as we can "predict" anything (my weather man consistently tells me I've got a 20% chance of rain, and I can assure you, he's right about 20% of the time, so, yes, Virginia, 20 is a "good number" if you are a weather man.)

A lot of folks say things like, "why do they keep building homes in tornado alley?" or "why do they keep building condos along Florida's Gold Coast, when they know the storms will come?" I think these observations are related.

When I was a child, I once went sailing to the southland. I remember going through the Chesapeake area, and along Cape Hatteras. At the time, "the Cape" seemed beautiful, peaceful, and serene. It wasn't until I got home, weeks later, that my Dad told me, "did you know that Cape Hatteras has some of the worst weather in the world?"

It's true (Dad's always right.) If you look at it on the map, you can see how it juts out into the ocean, how it "lands" right at the point where the tides change, the temperatures in the ocean shift, and the storms smack into the land more often there than (almost) anyplace else. If that's true, why does it seem so peaceful?

I guess, with weather, you just don't know what's coming your way until it really smacks you in the face. That peace and serenity can lull you into thinking you'll be one of the fortunate ones "missed" by it all, when, in actuality, you've got a bulls eye on your back and don't even know it. And mother nature is very good when she takes target practice.

I guess too that logic doesn't always dictate our actions. Sure, it's easy to look at a map, chart a course, sail off into the sunset but, those who know sailing, like those who know a lot about life itself, will be quick to tell you that "all this reality stuff" kind of gets in the way sometimes. If you play it safe, if you try to duck "the Cape" and sail out into the ocean, you've got your own demons to deal with, so you might as well take a shot at the peace and serenity while you can. You've got about a 20% chance and, as any weather man will tell you, that's not really bad odds for the likes of us.

Until next time...

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