Sure, I believe in climate change but only because that’s what the planet has been doing for all of time and I’m not convinced social media is not the reason we all *believe* storms are worse now than they used to be.
I say this because 30 years… wait, I’m so old now that 30 years ago is no longer the disco era—it was 1993 [headslap] and we had Internet then. Wow, okay, forty years ago, there were terrible ice storms and blizzards but we didn’t know how many people lost trees and power until days later when we all dug out our driveways and went back to school to compare stories with a few close friends at most. But, during last month’s freeze, there were dozens of stories on my social feeds, before the storm was even over, from people who managed to post things about having no power… without power.
I know it was a difficult time for all of us and I joke because I love, and I suppose the socially shared misery of broken trees and power lines was all about the comfort of not being in it alone. Or, it could just be a new kind of selfie contest focused on, “That’s nothing, you should see how many trees we lost / hours we went without power!”
Alas, irony abounds, because ever since it happened, I knew the oak tree that gave my house an icy eight-ton hug was going to be the focus of my column this month. Not in a look-how-tough-we-had-it way but, oddly, in a “Wow, there is no question watching Jason Bourne movies has done nothing to impart upon me any type of crisis response or superhero reflexes.”
Writing at my desk, I heard what could only have been a freight train in my living room. No immediate run to the upstairs rooms to fling my son into the safe room, or jumping out of the chair to grab a bat or a firearm. Instead, as the clinkety-clink continued on the porch outside my office and, having grown up in a mid-Atlantic state, I continued to sit at my desk thinking, “Hm, that must have been a pretty big sheet of ice that just slid off my roof.” But then the clinkety-clinking continued and I thought I might as well turn on the light to see a lovely wonder of nature on the deck. Lo and behold, there were not delicate Disney-esque shards of ice sparking in the glow of the floodlights but I instead discovered a rather gaudy collection of bricks and shingles.
Walking gingerly among them, the realization that I had been transported from my images of Frozen into a real life scene from Poltergeist, it occurred to me that there were several tons of lumber still perched precariously atop and sticking out of my chimney and roof. Perhaps I and my clearly-not-lightning-quick reflexes might not want to be walking underneath with a flashlight (and a camera). On the plus side, there was great potential for a Wizard of Oz picture of my feet sticking out from under a section of trunk, which might have gone viral.
No idea why there are so many movies associated with the mess in my mind. I suppose for Millennials who haven’t seen Poltergeist, think Mind Flayer from Stranger Things.
Hopefully, dear readers, you are amused by or share the same sense that it is often easy to miss or not react to the obvious because it is kind of unthinkable. I’ve heard ice falling off the roof before so my icy Spidey-sense didn’t picture Carol Ann getting sucked out the window quickly enough to see the giant tree doing its thing. But I suppose it also saved me from a brick to the head too. We’ll never know.
In any case, I know I will be amused when the contractors are eventually gone and I can re-tell the story a hundred times, then take a selfie with the bill and complain about the cost on social media. I can’t wait for the Likes!