November 28, 2023

Doing Something About the Weather


by Gideon Noire

Perhaps you’ve noticed, but doesn’t it seem that the weather is a bit out of control. Remember Sandy? I’ll bet there are some pizza workers on the Jersey shore who won’t soon forget it. After years of scoffing at Katrina, Sandy woke up the East coasters in ways not seen since the Red Sox took four straight from the Yankees.

And what about those melting ice caps? It seems there are entire civilizations and perhaps a species or two living above the Arctic Circle that depend on them. As if there isn’t enough cultural extinction in the world today, now we have to endure the loss of traditional headwear.

The reports of oddball weather are not limited to the climes of the polar bear. It’s even happening in the tropics. This year Brazil is experiencing a heat wave so severe that reports are emerging that it is melting the rain forests faster than the Chinese timber companies can turn them into sand boxes.

In the Outback, wild fires, the end product of prolonged drought, have burned the outback to such an extent that outbackers no longer say they are “out in the bush.” They now say they are “among the briquettes.” Four-inch diameter hail stones in Hawaii, tornados in Japan and frogs falling from the sky in Manila. It’s madness, wouldn’t you agree?

Personally, I thought it was just a scare tactic used by the Christian Right to convince us it was time to go back to church. To some degree, I still feel that way. But a recent cold snap here in the Baja has forced me to rethink the situation and adopt an attitude of sympathy.

The other day I got home from work and found my pooch, all 90 pounds of him, stuffed into my mail box. I have no idea how he got there, but I do know why. It was snowing. I have lived in the Baja for at least a decade, having escaped the affections of a Caribbean debutante, thanks in large part to a benevolent witch doctor. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that it has snowed.

mailbox bonesFor Jethro, that’s my dog’s name (he got it because his eating habits are similar to oil baron Jed Clampet’s dim-witted nephew), it was also a first. And as hard as it is to believe, I did not initially see him in my mail box. If not for a soft whimper and my hope that Sir Randolph had actually sent my pay check on time, he might still be there. Nevertheless, I found him shivering amongst my junk mail.

No sooner did I pry open the bulging box than a hand (actually it was his nose, which my main-squeeze Esmeralda has noted works in the same fashion as a hand, complete with opposed thumb in the form of a drooling lower jaw) poked out and slammed the door tight.

I should say at this point that Jethro, like me, is not from around these parts. He’s from Kayenta…on the “Rez.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with Arizona, Kayenta is “up dare,” on the Navajo Reservation—a windswept, God forsaken mix of dirt, sand and fry bread, the aborigines call home. Yes, it does snow on the “Rez” from time to time. But the year Jethro was born (last year), it didn’t. And since he was hustled off the “Rez” and hauled off to Flagstaff to have his jewels clipped before he had a chance to explore their possibilities, he missed the opportunity to experience such a phenomenon.

It’s no wonder he found solace in my mailbox. It took some time to extract him, but eventually I was able to cast him from his nest, where he hit the snow with a soft thud and a whimper. Then, like every one of us who is unaccustomed to this latest rage of weather extremes, Jethro began to howl. For five solid minutes he yelped with derision at his fate, barked at the still-falling flakes and then gave me one of those dumb looks that only a dog can make. You know the kind where they cock their heads, bear their sorrow and expel gas.

“Jethro,” I said, “I know how you feel. But you are no different than the rest of us. You complain about the weather, but you don’t do a damn thing about it. You might as well spend your time urinating on the bottom quotes in this paper.”

That’s when I noticed the postage stamp on his forehead head and the address of a Caribbean witch doctor tattooed on his hind end.

“Let’s see if we can just get you back in the mailbox, old boy. I take back everything I just said.”

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