One day, do you check the Weather Channel, and then the next you're watching it with your morning coffee? In two months, are you collecting barometers? And then before you know it, are you installing green screens, Doppler Radar and weather pickles in your entertainment room?
Or is it an instant Coming of Age moment, where they hand you your retirement watch and ask you:
"What do you plan to do with all your free time now, Bill?"
And (if your name happens to be Bill) you say:
"Why, I think I'm going to monitor precipitation and daily highs and lows in an obsessive-compulsive manner, Chet!"
(If the guy you were talking to happens to be named Chet.)
I say all this because it seems that, within the last few years, my dad-- who is retired, lives basically in Upper Margaritaville and has nowhere specific to be at any given moment--- has developed Weather Channel Addiction.
I had suspected this was going on, as each time I speak to him in our weekly catch-up phone call, from hundreds of miles away he recounts me with what my own weather is doing. Like some meteorological Carnac the Magnificent.
But I really notice it when he comes to visit and is Weather Channel-Free for a few days. By about Day Two, his hands are shaking... The fingers on his remote control hand are breaking out in hives... He's looking at the sky, his left eye twitching...
I ignore this for a while, because I am basically Evil. So he starts making vague hints.
"Are those cumulo-nimbuses coming in there? I wonder what that means."
(Cue ominous music.)
Then half-way through a movie, he can bear it no longer.
"Can we just put on TWC for a minute? Please? Just a minute. Just a little five-day-forecast. See what's happening at your Aunt Jean's. And Key West. And Iceland. I'll turn it off after that. I promise. I don't know what it's doing in Zimbabwe."
I thought he was going to slip into a seizure when he asked if the thermometer outside the kitchen window worked and I said I didn't know, I never really looked at it.
I would say this is an isolated case, but my best friend's parents have a similar fixation.
Not only do they monitor what it's doing outside with pinpoint accuracy, but they write it down as part of some log, along with rainfall totals.
My friend has told them many times that there are whole groups of Almanac People to take care of this task-- that history isn't relying on them specifically to trot out their spiral bound notebook and let us know there was a light frost on October 29, 1984 with a low of 31 degrees. But it's made no impression.
So as I get older, I wait for the moment that I, too, transition from a gal who just wants to know if I'll need to dig my car out for the morning commute, to an unpaid weatherperson with a deep passion for the total snowfall in the Rockies... which Tropical Storm is brewing in Barbados... and how many inches of rain I can expect on Sunday, as I watch it from the house.
If I ever start a blog post telling regular readers what the weather is doing in your areas based on your IP addresses, you'll know I've succumbed.
Compulsive meteorology affects one in seven. It's up to us to resist the high pressure front of weather addiction.
Question of the day: do you have a weather bug in your family?