So I’m walking down the Greenway yesterday, walking past the crocuses blooming by Atlantic Wharf, the maintenance guys preparing the fountains, the office workers sitting at outdoor tables, and my stomach is in a knot. I hung a right on Hanover Street, where a nice woman planted outdoor flower boxes and one restaurant after another flung open their windows to the street.
The clouds gave way to sun. The temperatures nudged toward the 70s. And everyone was smiling, locals and tourists, young and old, the innately happy and the perpetually put-upon. The whole scene, this entire city, felt like an old Dr Pepper commercial, the joyful throngs about to break into rousing song and dance.
Which leads to the one simple question I now solemnly ask: Has everyone lost their minds? And another: Don’t you understand that we are profoundly and inexorably screwed?
I get it, the mood, the joy, the very lightness of being. March feels like May, it has barely snowed all year, and the temperatures have set one benevolent record after another. So you’re all chuckling to yourselves, thinking we’ve done something you didn’t think possible: We cheated Old Man Winter.
You even have your cute little theory, that because last winter was so awful, this winter is our make-up call. Life always evens out, doesn’t it?
Yeah, sure it does, in Virginia and North Carolina and Arizona. But allow me to offer the cold dose of reality that the weather has sinisterly withheld: This is New England, and things never even out in our favor.
Which is why I’ve been having these dreams lately that my new Ariens snow blower climbs the stairs in the middle of the night, wakes me up, and punches me in the face. Why, I ask it. No reason, it tells me. I just had all this pent-up energy.
Which is why I’m convinced beyond any hint of a doubt that we are about to experience weather of nearly biblical proportions: Locusts will fill the air. Frogs will fall from the sky. The seas will basically swallow us whole.
I’m sorry, but we don’t get away with things in Boston. We don’t slip by unnoticed. This is New England, where we bear the burdens of the world. Your friends down on Marco Island have sunburns in February. You’re red in the face, too - from shoveling yet another blanket of wet snow. Washington has cherry blossoms in April; we have clouds, cold, and muck.
Yes, life evens out here. When things are bad, they don’t always get worse, and for that, we are forever thankful. And when things are good, buckle up, because they always take a turn for the worse. That’s how it has always been.
This is how the World Series victories of 2004 and 2007 led to the historic collapse of 2011. This is how three Super Bowl titles have morphed into a team that can’t win the big game. This is how the ceiling collapses on the Big Dig, supposedly the engineering marvel of the world.
Which is why, when an entire winter is blissfully wiped off the ledger, we’re going to have hell to pay - guaranteed. Think Governor Capuano. Think a hundred days of spring rain. Think a tornado-laced blizzard in the middle of July.
Yesterday, I called the region’s best weather forecaster, Matt Noyes of New England Cable News, to soothe my fears.
He told me that next week would be in the 60s and even 70s. Oh, no. “We’re in a pattern of extreme weather,’’ he said matter of factly. “We saw this in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, and cycles repeat. We’re back in a pattern of big landfalling hurricanes, tornadoes in the northern extent of the country, long stretches of hot weather. I expect us to have another dust bowl, another extended drought.’’
Matt, let’s just forget I ever called.
Everyone else, enjoy your freak(ing) weather. I’ll be cowering among the 100 cases of Poland Spring water I’m hoarding in my cellar for the day the debt comes due.