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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another treacherous commute, sort of.

Last night the weather people on TV predicted a "wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow" for this morning.  In this part of the country that is meteorologist crack cocaine.  You can feel the excitement build as they talk about the potential rain, mixing with the potential snow, and falling on our city.  Excitement can overcome even a seasoned television weather person, causing them to swoon, and the sports guy will have to rush over and fan them with the sports page from the local paper he was using to write his report.  But, as excited as they find the possibilities it can make my morning drive less enjoyable.

Since, a decent "wintry mix" can throw traffic into chaos the safe bet was to wake early, check the morning traffic report, and adjust my schedule accordingly.  The first thing we saw was the weather.

Al, the morning weatherperson said it was raining, and showed, with the help of a full screen radar image, a large swath of rain clouds passing over the area, with some snow showers mixed in towards the end.  Clouds producing snow stand out because of color variation, and there was a small batch of lightly colored clouds following closely on the heels of the wide, traveling amoeba looking bunch of rain clouds.  But, it was enough, and Al was thrilled.  After his breathless presentation, he passed the screen time baton to Mona the traffic reporter.

"With all of the rain we have had over the last several hours traffic is really slow, here are images from around the metropolitan area."  Four images, almost identical from the cloudy, rain drop smeared lenses, covered the screen and she described, in detail, what each camera was showing.  "There are no accidents to report, yet," you could almost sense the sorrow in her voice, and she slumped a little, "but, you know with wet, hazardous roads like this it is only a matter of time.  And I will bring it to you as soon as it happens."  She perked up a little there, and passed the all important air time to Bob, the anchorman.



"We have a camera crew and Ken, the reporter, loaded and ready to roll, as soon as there is an accident," Bob said, a little breathless, and the television screen showed Ken, the reporter, and a camera crew waiting in a van, in the rain, ready to roll.

Bob talked about the coming election, and the levees on the ballot, moving quickly to results of the online poll conducted by the station, an overnight robbery, and a local dog named Fritz who climbed a tree to rescue his friend, a cat named Hans, which was kind of cool.

"And, back to the Storm Center, and Al.  Hey, Al, how about giving this rain the boot and gettin' us some sunshine?"  He joked.

Al talked about the rain, predicting it would be out of the area sometime in the morning and the sun would appear in the afternoon, "How about that, Bob?  Now on to Mona, at the Traffic Control Console."

Mona was trying hard to keep a positive demeanor, but her voice, quavering, belied her concern.  "Nothing to report so far, but, with wet, awful roads like this it is only a matter of minutes, and we are ready to bring you the news.  Right, Ken?"

Flash to Ken, standing in the rain, beside the van, right outside the station, "that's right, Mona.  We are just waiting to bring you the film from the first accident of the day."

Mona was back on the screen, promising to bring us reports of the first accident, which, she assured was coming quickly.

Another round of news and weather and we were back to Mona, who was beginning to show signs of desperation.  She was wringing her hands, and sweat was beginning to streak her makeup.

"Look, the roads are terrible, and we are going to have an accident, soon.  Why wait?  The first person to run their car into a pole gets this $10.00 gift card to "Bill's House of Good Coffee."  If you involve another car the good people at "Terri's Style Boutique" will throw in a cut and color.  Look, we all drive the same roads, and we all know how irritating it is when some fool cuts you off, like they are more important, their time is more valuable.  Today is the chance to show them.  Ram them hard enough to require a wrecker, and "Ted's Towing" will throw in dinner for two at "The Powder House Grill."  We are going to throw open the phone lines, and take bids, if you are interested in a morning crash, but don't like the gifts you see here, call in and make a request, we will do our best to make it happen.  No reasonable offer will be refused.  What other station can make that claim?"

I was going to hold out for a new TV, but duty called, I take my job seriously.  I never heard who won the lottery, but, I am sure it was a great prize, and a grand accident, and Ken did a superb job reporting.