We have a strange relationship to weather events. Somewhere there are people who huddle around the television at a specified hour to watch their local news affiliate and the two or three segments related solely to weather. They do this, in most cases, knowing full well that anyone can access detailed weather information any time of day on the internet. Most days is pretty banal stuff. Enough to mention to a friend or co-worker to break an awkward pause but not much more than that. Maybe it’s the light banter and neat graphics. Maybe there is something familiar and comforting about sharing an appointed time with a trusted voice. Maybe it’s a cure for loneliness. Who knows?
Then there are the big weather events. Days when we get continuous coverage in intimate detail from across the entire region. A small army of newscasters fanned out in weird locations to tell you what you already know. A funny thing happens, especially when we get snow. You see your neighborhoods who’ve mostly been hibernating for most of the season. They come out to clear the snow from their sidewalks and driveways. It’s a tiny affirmation that everyone else is still there, doing their minor duty, fulfilling their part of the social contract. Leaving the local news aside and venturing out into the streets to be seen, perform their role in everyday life.