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Beware the bad weather monkeys

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 20, 2005


"Seems it never rains in Southern California" – — Albert Hammond

I love the rain. I love when nature has its way with the tenuous order we call home. Rain is good; a lot of rain is better. Southern California always needs rain. With a population far beyond hydrological carrying capacity, too much precipitation is not possible. The hillside that swallowed the neighborhood in La Conchita was beautiful. Watching video of earth eroding like a river, moving with plants riding on top I was awe struck. The only horror being that of the destruction of lives caught in its path.

Locally, the unrelenting rain was little more than an inconvenience for people with any sense. Of course there will always be people determined to drive through flooded areas, build homes on unstable bluffs, or live in flood planes. Certain the laws of nature don't pertain to them, some individuals take chances that fail to pay off. These studies in Darwinist theory should not however, be sensationalized or martyred in any way.

Personally I look forward to rainy days. Ecologically speaking, I know an occasional soaking is sufficient to sustain species indigenous to local communities, as regional bio-systems have evolved to capitalize on the drought or drench nature of our climate. Rain is cool, as are storms and other forms of extreme winter weather. O.K. bone numbing cold isn't cool, but the starry skies that accompany frigid nights are.

Also not cool, are the ways most people react to inclement weather conditions. Camped in three general groups, the bad weather monkeys display varying degrees of environmental disconnect.

The first group, and greatest in number, is the "business-as-usual" folks. No matter how wet the roads, how torrential the down pour, these people insist on driving at safe speeds, because "I'm driving the speed limit" and "This is how fast I drive." These are the same individuals who drive through roads flooded with swollen creeks, and surf in storm runoff, because "It's not that big a deal." This group of bad weather monkeys can be identified as those needing to be rescued from the roof of their automobile, those in over turned vehicles, or wrapped around a tree.

Then there are the complainers. These bad weather monkeys are vocal in nature, and easily recognized by their agitated state, plaintiff howling, and lack of context. Complaining about the effects of weather, a tree or boat falling on your house, is one thing. A Bad Weather Monkey (BWM) complains about the weather like there was some one who could do something about it. "I wish it would stop raining." As if wishing would actually make it so. "I'm tired of all this rain," "Rain sucks," and the equally clueless, "Enough already!" Often the business-as-usual folks are the biggest complainers, due mainly to inbreeding.

The third grouping of BWM is the conquering martyrs. These are the monkeys who insist on rebuilding homes ravaged by floods in the same flood plain, cling precariously to eroding bluffs, or battle mudslides year after year, after year in spite of established weather patterns, and unstable topography. This group is easily identified by the structures they build in order to keep the effects of weather from threatening nesting sites, and migration routes. The territorial instincts of this subset are not to be taking lightly, as they are prone to prolonged aggression if challenged in thought or action.

Of course we have all complained about getting caught out in the rain, a anticipated sporting event being rained out, or somehow being inconvenienced by circumstance or bad planning. And most of us have had nature unexpectedly give us a mess to clean up after. Having lost several trees to the winds and rains of winter, I have lamented the loss of summer shade and needed habitat. But never was weather, "The Problem."

Finding fault in the weather is simply ludicrous. Blaming nature for human discomfort is just plain stupid. Wind is not capable of idiosyncratic thought, but humans are. Rain doesn't decide when and where to fall. Humans can decide between flight or fight.Fighting nature is a losing battle, yet still we fight on. one sea wall, one flood control measure, at a time.

Most mammals don't nest in seasonal flood areas, during the flood season. Humans do. Most animals hunker down in bad weather to wait for favorable conditions, most humans don't.There is a great dealt to be learned about living in balance within existing ecological systems, sadly, most humans don't listen.

Are you a bad weather monkey?

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