The summer turned hot before spring ended. Rains came sporadically through May, into early June, but the earth seemed to tear itself apart for the occasional shower. The clouds produced more lightning than moisture, funnel clouds were so common the most timid quit running to the bathtub with their mattress and the weatherman on channel eight stopped doing his reports in shirt sleeves.
He had taken to reporting in his long sleeves to show he was working really, really hard to bring people meteorological reports the old timers could get by consulting their joints early of a morning. The field animals shed their winter coats early, late in April and the mosquitoes did not appear before May, meaning the spring would be short, while the summer would be long and hot.
Still, the weatherman stood, rather than sit, to make his reports, so viewers could see his dedication, along with his youth and vigor. He held a long production meeting to decide if he should loosen his tie on the late broadcasts but that was too much for the station director, an older woman from the eighties, who could barely stand it when he stood up and took off his jacket.
"Global warming is a big story," she said in the tie-loosening meeting, "I know. I read the Times, like you read the Times."
He did not know what she meant. He did not read the Times, or much of anything else. He was visual, not tactile and so completely ADD he needed movement to activate brain function. That is why he stood up for the first time on set and took off the jacket the station had measured for him and made to fit his lanky, muscled frame.
Still, he did not want to seem uninformed, even if he was the weatherman.
"Yes, I read the Times, like you do," he concurred, nodding emphatically, eyes wide and flashing over the bright, superior smile that launched his broadcasting career. "I think they call 'global warming' by the term 'climate change' now, though," he said.
She blinked. "They do? Why do they call it climate change instead of 'global warming?''"
She wondered, vaguely frantic for a moment, if there had been a memo. She could not always figure out her BlackBird thing or whatever it was they handed her in New York the day the network launched its new website(s). What if the network guys had renamed "global warming" and she did not know?
"Oh, I think some of the scientists discovered the warming actually stopped back in, oh, the early nineties, and they needed a more accurate reflection of what Mr. Gore had been writing," he answered, though, in truth, he had absolutely no idea if global warming had stopped or when it might have stopped or if there were any scientists involved in deciding any part of the matter.
"Yes, yes," she answered, frantically. "I read that in the Times."
She had always wanted to work for the Times.
"Yes, yes," he had answered her, sympathetically. "I saw it in the on-line Times."
"Yes, yes," she said, "in the on-line Times."
They decided then he would not loosen his tie, not just yet. They would save that for the sweeps in the fall. For now, he would continue to do his workout and strict diet procedure. He would stand in shirts sleeves with his nice profile turned to the camera while he visited with the more established anchors, set at their desks, showing he could dash back to his green screen maps in an instant, should threatening weather appear.
"These are fast times," she concluded.
"Yes," he said, " so we need faster weathermen."
"Just like the Times," he added.
She nodded, though she had no idea what faster weathermen had to do with the Times.