Weather Or Not

- by Michael

(In honor of Sandy Brittingham, with whom I have the privilege of sharing a birthday, whom I love dearly, and for whom I have immense respect, no matter what you might gather from the ensuing post…)

What’s your favorite TV show?

I like cop dramas, particularly the slightly goofy ones – Castle, Elementary, and so on – but Foyle’s War is probably the best, even though there’s no goofiness involved at all. (Or, if there is, it’s very British and thus hardly even counts. British silliness is either utterly minimal or bizarrely over the top.)

Joanie prefers your comedies, quirkier the better. We were both HUGE fans of 30 Rock, and have always enjoyed Community; she’s right now pretty big on Go On, which I must say is excellent even though I vowed never to enjoy anything involving a single member of the cast of Friends.

I know, I know, we all say that we watch too much TV, but face it – you have a favorite show. Or a group of shows. There’s good entertainment out there, and it’s easy to access, and sometimes you just need to unwind while a group of strangers entertains you through a colorful and noisy box in your living room, and when you do this regularly enough you have a good idea about what show or shows you like the most.

My mother-in-law’s favorite?

The Weather Channel.

Seriously, she watches TWC like some people watch Days of Our Lives, like serious sports junkies watch SportsCenter (ever watch the same rerun three times in a row just ‘cause it’s on in the morning? What, I’m the only one?), like anybody ever has watched the first season of Downton Abbey.

And the best part is, she cannot watch it alone.

Even if you’re a time zone and over nine degrees of latitude away, she’s got to tell you what the weather is about to be where she is. Or, more often, where you are – or where you’re going, if you have any travel plans on the near horizon. And that “about to be” is pretty relative. On the extremely rare occasion when I actually bother to check the weather, it’s for that day. Period. Sandy will sometimes call to inform us what the weather is going to be like in ten days.


It’s not all in the future direction, to be honest. Once or twice, she’s even called us during a storm of some kind to let us know that there’s going to be a storm of some kind.

I won’t lie, this has always struck me as odd – endearing, but odd – because I’m almost never in the weather for more than two or three minutes at a time. I get into a means of mechanized conveyance and then go inside a building of some sort. Tada! My entire exposure to the elements consists of getting into and out of vehicles, and nothing more. An outdoor type, I am most certainly not.

But I get it.

Sandy grew up on a farm, and lives in a rural area. The weather is important to her in a fundamental and powerful way that, while not part of my own psychology, is something I can at least begin to understand. And because she cares about us and wants us to be safe, she keeps an eye on the weather wherever we are.

Or are going to be.

Or might be, at some point in the future, just in case.

And for all I tease her about it, I appreciate it, and hope she never stops. Because somebody’s gotta check the weather, and it might as well be somebody who knows all the meteorologists in America by name.