Cooling Down.


The one predictable thing about Nashville weather is that it’s unpredictable. Maybe that’s why I rarely bother to check the weather report even though this sometimes means getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, although there are worse things to be caught without, like my bus pass or my pants, and then there was the time I’d ridden the bus halfway home before I remembered I drove to work that day, but that’s another story.

And then there was the January when snow was in the forecast but I can’t tell you how many times the weather reports have called to snow only to have a few scattered flurries, or to have the temperature shoot up to around ninety degrees. Celsius. That’s the South for you. It had started snowing when I set out for the bus but I was bundled up warmly and it didn’t look like it was going to amount to anything. Then again it never looks like it’s going to amount to anything. It’s only when snow starts blowing across the street that it looks like we’re in for nasty weather.

Oh yeah, it was blowing across the street when I set out for the bus, but I kept going. I’m an optimist.

I got to the bus stop but there was no bus and according to the schedule it wouldn’t be along for a bit, and even though bus schedules are about as trustworthy as weather reports I set out for the next bus stop a block away. Sometimes I get antsy just standing around at bus stops so I’ll walk down to the next bus stop—in the opposite direction of the way home, but I figure if the bus is coming toward me then I’m really getting closer to it, if that makes any sense. I’ve walked a mile or more, passing by at least half a dozen bus stops before I pick one and stop, afraid the bus will be just around the corner and I’ll be caught between stops.

The snow was really coming down and was getting thick on the streets. Cars were creeping by. Still I kept trudging on. I came to a hill where I could see a long distance. There was no sign of the bus. There was even less sign of traffic even moving. I decided to stop and wait. And I waited. More than an hour had passed since I’d set out. I hadn’t seen a single bus in either direction. Wherever they were they apparently weren’t going anywhere.

I didn’t get upset. Hey, I’m an optimist. I just happened to be an extremely cold and damp optimist.

That’s when my wife called.

“Why don’t you come and meet me where I work? You’re not far from your office, are you?”

Why, no, of course not! I wasn’t going to admit that I’d wandered hither and yon, or at least hither, or maybe yon—I’m not sure which is distance—from the bus stop closest to my office. I turned around and started trudging back the way I’d came. And amazingly I moved pretty quickly. It didn’t take me that long at all to get to where she worked. This was at least partly due to the slow-moving traffic which meant I didn’t have any trouble getting across intersections. And I think I was motivated by a desire to get out of the cold.

The heat in the middle of summer is brutal but it has one major advantage. It doesn’t stop, or even slow, the traffic.

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  1. halfa1000miles

    Weather reports suck. Where I used to live (45 minutes from here) there was a weird phenomenon. Every time there was a 10% chance of rain, it rained. It could be 90% and not rain, but 10% meant 100%. Screwed up many a yard sale and hike.

    I love summer traffic. I work 17 miles from home. In the winter (when school’s in) it takes 15 minutes longer.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, weather reports really do suck. I used to laugh at weather reports that said “50% chance of rain” because I thought that was just a coin toss–hey, either it will rain or it won’t!–but then I was told that when they say X% chance of rain what they mean is it’s going to rain and the percentage is how much of the area is going to be hit. How every yard sale or hike manages to get hit even when it’s only 10% of the area that’s getting rain is a mystery. Although it could be worse: you could be a Rain God.

  2. Ann Koplow

    This is reminding me about a dream I had last night where I got word that I needed to travel to Nashville and I refused because I thought the weather there was too unpredictable. When I woke up I was surprised at the dream, since I never perceived that about the Nashville weather … only to find your blog post. And I agree that weather reports suck.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      How strange that you’d dream about having to travel to Nashville at all–although it does seem to be a pretty popular destination. The weather is wildly unpredictable but there’s one thing you can always count on: we have four distinct seasons. And those seasons are early summer, summer, late summer, and winter. Winter lasts about a month and is interrupted by about fifteen minutes of fall late in the year and fifteen minutes of spring early in the year.

      1. Ann Koplow

        That is very distinct, Chris.


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