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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Storm, Out of Norm

I’m beginning, just a teensy bit, to rethink the decision to settle in Boston.

(Not really. But just for the sake of argument, let’s run with this. I’ve got nothing else to work with tonight.)

Here’s the thing — everywhere in the world has potential disasters to deal with. You live in southeast Asia, you get typhoons. You live in Hawaii or Iceland or in the shadow of Mount Etna, you get hot volcanic lava in your lap occasionally. You live on either edge of the Pacific, you’re always looking over your shoulder for earthquakes.

(That’s probably not especially accurate. I’m guessing you look mostly under your ass for earthquakes. But what do I know? I’m no left-coaster. Nor a seismologist.)

Boston has its own dangers, historically speaking. Nor’Easters. Blizzards. Redcoats. But none of these has ever particularly bothered me personally. So far as I’m concerned, a big winter storm equals a couple of snow days. Now that I don’t have stairs to shovel or a driveway to dig out alone, that means spending a random blustery weekday in jammies, sleeping late and sipping cocoa.

“Bring it on, Mother Nature, you frozen-hearted harpy.”

Bring it on, Mother Nature, you frozen-hearted harpy. Short of dropping an icicle through my bedroom ceiling, you can’t hurt me.

Or so I thought.

I assumed the odd dump of white stuff was the only natural disaster worth worrying about here. We’re further inland than downtown Boston, too far for tidal waves or floods or rabid seagull attacks. Tornadoes stick to the middle of the country. We don’t have sandstorms, forest fires, mudslides or sinkholes. Outside blizzard season, we’re perfectly safe.

But no. Just a few days ago, we had an earthquake.

Oh, sure, the epicenter was technically in Maine. But come on — we know who the real target was. What, you think Mother Nature is all pissed off at moose and hairy hippies dressed in flannel? I don’t think so. Boston just mostly dodged a bullet, is all.

And now there’s this “Frankenstorm” kajigger coalescing on our doorstep, like two metric shittons of nitro and glycerine barreling toward each other. The Arctic part, we’re used to. We can hunker down through that. We’re a region of hunkerers. No problem.

But the hurricane half? In New England? That makes no sense. Even if it weakens to a tropical storm — what the hell does ‘tropical’ have to do with Boston? Nothing. We’re not tropical; we’re barely goddamned temperate. We’re one overdue spring from sitting on hardpack tundra up here; ‘tropical’ storms are waaaaay the shit out of their jurisdiction.

We do snow, not wind, around these parts. This beast threatens to bring blustery gusts the likes of which have never been seen in Boston before. Not outside the capitol building, anyway.

Of course, we’re not currently slated to bear the brunt of this multi-pronged meteorological monster. But the winds can change. One draft of mid-Atlantic hot air — can you say Washington, D.C., anyone? — and this thing could come together right on top of us. And then stay, unwanted, for three or four days — like a surprise visit from the in-laws, or a long Yankees series at Fenway Park. What do we do then?

I’m not sure, frankly. We only know how to deal with winter storms. In much the same way that a quarter-inch of snow can flummox unprepared motorists in, say, Georgia, any major storm in Massachusetts that doesn’t involve a foot of the white stuff stops us in our tracks. If we’re not shoveling, we’re shitting our pants. And that’s what we’re facing next week.

Not that it won’t snow, necessarily. But can you shovel when it’s being blown at forty miles an hour down the block? I suspect not. I’ll find out soon enough. And if I can’t, and it turns out storms like this can happen in Boston all the time?

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll move to the Sahara or the North Pole or on top of one of the Andes. if unmanageable weather can happen anywhere, then you might as well go somewhere you expect it, right? Better than Frankenstorm sneaking up behind you, like some B-horror movie baddie.

Even on Halloween, that shit don’t fly, Mother Nature. Don’t make me move out of here, dammit. I just got into my jammies.

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