Monday, October 10, 2011


     My eighty-six year old mother lives in a retirement community half a mile away and I call her twice a day, once in the morning and again after dinner. It’s often difficult to find things to say; politics are out of bounds because we usually end up shouting at each other—Mom still supports the John Birch Society—so we often resort to talking about the weather. A typical conversation sounds something like this:
     Me: “Are you enjoying the day? It’s pretty outside.”
     Mom: “Well, maybe for you, but it’s overcast and chilly where I am.”
     Me: “Really? That’s strange because I’m looking out of my window in your direction and I don’t see any clouds. And it’s eighty-two degrees where I am.”
     Mom: “I know what I see. I’m sitting here with a sweater on.”
     Me: “The leaves are turning; aren’t the colors gorgeous?”
     Mom: “It’s too cold to venture out, but from what I can see out my window the leaves aren’t turning yet in this part of town.”
     Me: “We both live in the same part of town. We live less than half a mile apart. You don’t have your own weather, Mom.”
     Mom: “Evidently, I do!”
     Yesterday our local meteorologist confirmed that she might be right. It’s been said that the best way to escape accountability is to become a politician or a weather forecaster. Yesterday morning I heard our local weather guy using a phrase I hadn’t heard before, one sure to cover his ass and protect him from fallout for the bad forecasts that are his specialty. He was talking about our city’s micro-climates. He took a long time explaining how the weather in Portland could change from one neighborhood to the next. He droned on at length and then predicted brisk temperatures with clear skies, a day to bundle up and enjoy great fall weather. (I was later caught in a downpour without my umbrella.)
     During my call to Mom last night I learned that it hadn’t rained anywhere near her. She’d experienced balmy weather with hot stagnant air. In the background I could hear the hum of her air-conditioning. 
     I’m sure she was still wearing her sweater.

     Who do you know that has their own micro-climate? 


  1. I think all old people have their own micro-climate. I remember my father did. Same kind of conversations. He was wearing a sweater and it was 110 degrees.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  2. She must live somewhere near Happy Valley... that's the only part of town I know of where it can be showering in like Oregon City but its sunny up there... or I guess shes just older.

  3. I am pretty sure my friend has his own microclimate. He is the only person I know to go sking in shorts because he would sweat too much if he wore pants.

  4. So THAT'S what that cloud is over my head that follows me everywhere. A micro-climate!

  5. I have a micro-climate in my office; my office is colder than everywhere around it, even right outside in the hallway. People comment on it. But I suspect that's not the same thing as what this weatherman is looking at.

    Your conversations with your mom made me laugh. In a good way!

  6. That's a humorous story, though not for you. I agree with Sandee. The seniors of the world seem to have their own micro-climate. Oh, I do too. I'm always cold.

  7. When we lived in San Diego we were part of the Master Gardener program, where we learned that San Diego had over 47 distinct micro climates, and plants that loved one could hate and die in another just a few miles away or over the hill.