Weekly Rant

Utah Weather: The Uncertainty Principle

As I type, it's snowing outside my office window. It's mid-May, and it's snowing.

I grew up in Long Beach, California. Most Mays, it's either raining sweat, or it's hot enough to melt the asphalt...and has been since Easter. By May I'd been running around barefoot long enough that hot coals would be a relief from the concrete sidewalks and blacktop roads of my neighborhood, and my callouses could double as space shuttle tiles. I'd already been to the barber for my annual buzz-cut, the kind that wasn't a neo-Nazi social statement back then but was simply a matter of keeping your brain from spontaneously combusting while playing stickball or biking to the beach.

In mid-May in Provo, Utah, it snows. The beard I shaved off in late March to avoid the summer broil is coming back to keep my cheeks from flash- freezing. The electric blanket is back on the bed, and the flashers are showing pictures of themselves.

Utah has weird weather. In an hour's time I've gone through sunshine, clouds, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and crickets--I assumed Charlton Heston was trying to get airport security to let his luggage go. I've seen roofs blow off an apartment complex on a sunny day. I've frozen my lower extremities in August. Last December, after a very snowy November, my family came up to enjoy a White Christmas, and were welcomed by an unseasonable warm front. The weathermen have given up completely on projecting The Weather and have switched to the Top Five climates to expect throughout the day. Utah weather changes more frequently than most Central American governments. This is the state that ordered two monstrous pumps when we were undergoing massive flooding, and they arrived just in time for the drought. And they were Fed-Exed in.

Some attribute the weather cycle to the local religion. We have skiiers, and we have mountain bikers. Each is praying for the weather of their choice. Each has been faithfully attending church, even during the weekly Kiwanis Park tan-off. God takes pity on each of them, and compromises. What we end up with is the only climate in the world that has a weather forecast for each of Roseanne's distinct personalities.

I'm sick of it. I don't ski, I don't mountain bike, and I certainly don't tan--particularly in the same day. I don't mind variety, but I would like some consistency, please. Pick a season and stick to it, at least during daylight hours.

When I lived in Korea we knew what to expect. Summer was hot and muggy, with frequent rains and 100% humidity. Winter was frozen and muggy--a nice trick, I thought--with frequent snows and 100% chance of frostbite. Spring and Fall were warm and cool, respectively, with solid walls of humidity and 100% chance of whatever you woke up to staying that way all day.

Is this so much to ask?

I think whoever designed Utah's weather is also the program director for MTV. We've got the only climate geared completely for the thirty-second attention span.

The worst of it is--the weather was nice when I woke up. So I came to work without my jacket.

I wonder how much hair I can grow in eight hours.

Last Updated: April 27, 1996
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