The remarkable Ben has delivered for us again, getting the rotten sills replaced just ahead of the storm skittering up the East Coast. Storm Center is in overdrive with Sandy the Frankenstorm, and those who know fear and worry will pay for this storm as much as people with damaged roofs and lost power.
It is so hard to separate hysteria from reality in our culture. I have a friend who works for a major weather site and he tells me when a storm like this comes, advertisers come flocking to reach the increasingly worried people panicked by alarms and warnings and hype: 100 million people could lose power, a billion dollars in damage, an unprecedented storm unlike any other in history. The sites ramp up their coverage to keep people coming, firing off alerts, text warnings and e-mail blasts along with maps and graphic doomsday predictions of worst case scenario. The gloomier the forcecast, he says, the more people come running, the more money is made. He says traffic to the weather sites triple, and there is big money in a big storm like this, one that will go right over half of the country. Nobody, he says, is interested in downplaying the possibilities, only elevating them.
It seems a shame that weather reporting is a big business, like the so-called news industry, which makes it almost impossible to separate the hype from the truth. On a farm with animals, I get nervous when storms like this approach and I would like to trust these people more than I do. There is shelter, but it is not easy for animal to deal with torrential rain and howling winds for days. People either.
Storm Center also offers the opportunity to learn to handle fear. I will not run out to the store and stock up on food and candles. I do not conceive of any scenario that will leave me without food to buy. I will make sure the animals have shelter and food and light a good fire, drink a glass of wine to Sandy and dance with my wife. You just have to keep dancing, or they will ruin your life and make you mad.
And yes, it is good to have the new sills primed.