Some Reflections And Suggestions In Wilma’s Wake

Maybe, just maybe, we can start to exhale — meteorologically speaking. We missed Wilma’s havoc-wreaking wake, although somewhere, we all fear, is an undodged, categorical bullet with our name on it. And the hurricane season officially has almost another month to go. The Greek alphabet is not just for fraternities.

A few postscripts from another crucible in the tropical cross-hairs:

*Frost warnings, of course, will next loom, but landscape concerns – after having emotionally rationalized the loss of everything for the second consecutive year – seem kind of whiney . How bad can it be if it doesn’t come with infra-red imagery, cones of Armageddon, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. subplots, FEMA alerts, presidential cameos or looting scenarios?

*The media will always do what they do — some better than others. But public service is hardly their raison d’etre . They keep score. Hence, the affiliates’ foreboding teases and the marketing of “teams” with on-site, histrionic reporters and high-tech forecasting systems with Hummer-like names such as VIPIR and Vortex and Titan.

*I’m still boycotting any station with a meteorologist wearing suspenders . A little too contrived and show bizzy for my taste in a time of trust. I am, however, accepting of that look-at-me look when car shopping.

*As for the national coverage, two words: Al Roker . The “Today Show” weatherman may re-think that gastric bypass the next time he risks becoming a ballast-challenged, hype-seeking missile.

*The ongoing challenge we all face is to be informed – but not bludgeoned by the drumbeat, impending doom hurricane coverage. As a coping device, I resist the urge to frequently flip on the TV, even if it’s for a market update or West Coast scores. There are official weather service trajectory updates a couple of times a day. That’s enough. It keeps me out of the colorful, continuous loop of all Caribbean hurl all the time.

*It’s also advisable, for the same reason, to check e-mail less often. Never, I noticed, did the AOL headlines seem so benignly welcome as the day after Wilma’s destructive dash through South Florida. You had to look hard to find “Wilma Pushes TV Reporters Around.” Otherwise, it was practically refreshing to see: “Who’s Phishing in Your E-Mail?”, “Cheney Implicated in CIA Leak Case,” “Vote: Is It A Lost Year For Bush?”, “Your I.Q. Going Up In Smoke?”, “Tea Sales Boom But Are Results For Real?” and “Tonya Harding Strikes Again.”

*Where is it written that all hurricane coverage must include requisite, trite footage and photos of surfers doing their imbecilic best to trivialize impending disaster – or at least severe distress — for the rest of us with families, houses and different priorities?

*Two more words: Anderson Cooper .

*One final word: Geraldo .

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