By David Carroll
It was Sunday, January 9, 2011. There was snow in the forecast. Most people in my neighborhood were either hunkered down with their weather radios, watching TV, or in line at the supermarket. When the weather people are talking about frozen precipitation, and we see cars in Boston buried under five feet, our instincts tell us to hoard enough groceries to last until Labor Day.
For whatever reason, my joints and sinuses seem to be immune to atmospheric changes. Either that, or I passed away several years ago, and no one bothered to tell me. But my dear wife Cindy can detect a storm forming in the clouds over Chicago. I always turn to her when there are rumors of severe weather approaching.
“Cindy,” I said on that quiet Sunday, “How are you feeling, with your personal weather radar?” “My head is killing me,” she replied. I needed more information to decide whether to pack an overnight bag for work. “Where, exactly?” I asked. She pointed to her forehead. “It’s above my right eye.” She had never said that before. “And it’s really hurting,” she added. I asked, “What do you think it means?” (When rain is on the way, she has a mere sinus headache. This was different). “Something big is coming,” she said.
The next morning, we were greeted by the sight of snow, ten inches of it. The evening before, I had posted Cindy’s prognostication on Facebook. It turns out she wasn’t the only one who knew it was coming. “My knees are hurting,” one woman wrote. “My wife’s right hip joint is aching really bad,” said one man. Another woman wrote, “The vein on my husband’s right temple is puffing up, and his headache is so bad, he’s going to bed!” Others complained about their knees, ankles, shoulders and back acting up like never before. One of my friends wrote, “My left knee and ankle have been screaming snow since Friday afternoon!” While Cindy’s built-in weather station was sending out alerts above her right eye, others felt the pressure over their left eye, and one man even felt it above both eyes.
“My husband says his knees haven’t hurt so badly since he was a kid. My feet, ankles and left wrist (the one I broke in 2nd grade) have been hurting all day,” wrote one woman. “I’ve had a migraine for 24 hours,” wrote another. And, “The metal plate in my neck hurts, so I’m stocking up now on milk, bread, pork and beans, and toilet paper!” Others even talked about pain in their teeth, and changes in their hair. One woman wrote, “I know something is coming, I suddenly have a strong urge to clean the house.” One of my male friends wrote, “I don’t need a weather forecast. Whenever snow or ice is on the way, I get an uncontrollable urge to go to Waffle House. I think the waitresses send out some kind of secret signal.”
If my human friends didn’t feel the symptoms, their pets did. “I have a dog whose droopy little ears perk up when something is coming,” wrote one of my friends. Another wrote, “I have four nervous cats. They get like this every time.” Some folks reported on blackbirds swarming, cows huddling together, and squirrels stocking their pantries, so all the signs were there.
Another friend mentioned “the distant sound of a train I don’t seem to hear unless a blizzard is on the way.”
One of my older co-workers said she gets her snow forecast from Arthur. I couldn’t think of any weatherman by that name, so of course, I had to ask. She snapped back, “Arthur-itis, you dummy! He’s all up in my shoulder blades.”
So while the various forecasters and “models” from Europe, Canada and the United States have differing opinions on how much snow we’ll get, and when it will arrive, Cindy just points to the big toe on her right foot. ”I had surgery on that one,” she said. “It’s been stiffening up all afternoon. That only happens when there’s a serious change on the way. Add that to the sinus pressure across my forehead and under my cheekbones, and you can bet on it. Something’s coming.”
I’m thankful for the Doppler Radar, the Storm Tracker, the huge monster weather trucks, and all my TV meteorologist pals. But when I’m too lazy to grab the remote, and my phone isn’t charged, I just turn to my personal weather forecaster. She was formerly known as simply “My Wife Cindy,” but I have now re-named her my “Official Pinpoint Weather Wife 3000.”
What’s that, Weather Wife? Now it’s in your knees? Yikes, I’d better start packing.
(David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405)