By John Matonich
I decided to stay home the other day and get a few things done around the house before old man winter really raised his ugly head. We have already had about 15 inches of snow, but it is slowly settling down and while the mercury isn’t much above freezing during the day, the sun is out occasionally and I can now see some grass. We are pretty much ready for the winter season, but I wanted to check out a few things to make sure.
I was up at my usual time, but instead of getting cleaned up and heading to my shop in town, I sat down with a cup of coffee and got on my laptop to see what was happening in the world. I also saw emails from some potential customers, so I knew I needed to get a couple of designs done and the details off to them. I was able to get the preliminary designs done and was about to send some screen shots when the internet went down. Arrgggh, was all I could say while I struggled to try and figure out what was wrong. I wasn’t having a lot of success and it was too early to call the company, so I just sat back and growled a little.
As I was sipping on coffee, I couldn’t help but think about how it was before the almighty “net” came to be. News was read out of a paper, weather was part of a report on the radio and we communicated many times by picking up a phone or walking across the street. It sure isn’t that way today. Not only do we demand instant access, it better be fast and updated at a regular pace. I can see where there is a need, but I also see many times when it is a want instead.
It wasn’t long before the net came back and I was able to get my design work off to my customers as well as getting caught up on the local news from the internet version of the local paper. I went through my normal shop routine of making sure all the bills were paid and no one had hacked into my bank accounts. There wasn’t much else I needed to do via the net, so I went out to get my chores done. The reliance on the internet was still weighing on my mind. Even at our camp, we have grown accustomed to keeping up with the world by use of the net and complain when we can’t get more than one bar of service.
I was in Montana recently hunting mule deer. We were in an area that didn’t have much in the way of roads and those that were there, many didn’t have a gravel surface. This means if it rains, it becomes a soupy mess of mud that doesn’t clean up very easily. You can imagine we watched the weather very closely while we were there. This meant the daily discussion was about which was the best weather app to have on your smart phone. I couldn’t help but think that since we were out there hunting and only had so much time to do that, I am not sure the weather should be too much of a consideration. We had to get things done while we had the chance to be there, no matter what.
It reminded me of a “weather rock” I saw once. It was a small rock hanging by a string. The little card below it said, “If the rock is moving, it is windy. If the rock is white, it is snowing. If the rock is wet, it is rainy. If the rock is warm, it is sunny.” I think it is a very appropriate way for us to deal with weather than the phone app that updates the weather every 4 minutes for a day 2 weeks in the future.
We were fortunate this year as we all tagged out before the weather got bad and we were able to head for home without having to scrape mud off the trucks we were riding in. We did hit some black ice on the way home which was not forecast by any of the apps we had on our phones, but when the truck starts to slide sideways, it is a pretty good indicator that a slower speed might be more appropriate than the one we were traveling at. I guess I could add another directive to the weather rock. “If the rock is slippery, slow down ’cause it’s icy.”
And that’s the situation as I survey it. …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.