A Return to Normalcy
Paul Rattay Photography
A week ago, we were drenched in rain, clouds and below average seasonal temperatures. Today, its sunny, hot and not a cloud in the sky. We're back to our seasonal temps but the forecast still appears to be bouncier than what we consider normal.
I have to stop sometimes and think about this word, normal. We talk about it like it’s a fact. "This isn't normal." "That isn't normal." But normal is a relative term and it is constantly shifting much like our perspective of the environment around us.
For example, when I grew up in Houston in the 80s and 90s, it was normal to wear a suit to work in 100 degree weather with 95% humidity – a wool suit in fact. Looking back, I can't imagine how that could be anything close to normal, but I digress.
Now that I live in the Bay Area, I, like many of you, accept the fact that it is normal to have a tremor every once in a while. But if (when) we were suddenly faced with an earthquake of a magnitude similar to the one that hit coastal Japan this year, normal would not be the first word that comes to mind. I'm a bit of a realist though and well aware of the risks of living near a fault line in an earthquake prone region.
I must sound cavalier about this subject but I grew up in a region where tornadoes and hurricanes were prevalent and fully remember the shock of many Floridians when hurricane Andrew tore a $25 billion path through their state.
As a child, I remember all the reports of tornadoes touching down in nearby trailer parks during Houston's infamous thunderstorm season. I remain baffled about tornadoes’ attraction to trailer parks, but then again I like turtles. I'm not going to judge.
Those of you old enough to remember when Mount St. Helens blew its lid in 1980, there were plenty of folks wondering why they lived so close to an active volcano. But here we are, more than 30 years later with a population of nearly 300,000 people surrounding Mt. Rainier, a volcano with the dubious distinction of being listed as one of 16 global volcanos predicted to be most deadly if (when) an eruption occurs.
Truth is, we're a pretty self centered society, one that has gotten quite adept at putting thoughts and plans aside that are not clear and present dangers, but when something does happens, we get all surprise-eyed. We go about our busy, productive or lost lives thinking that the world revolves around us but in reality we live in a world of constant change. Today, in Sonoma its 87 degrees and the pool is very warm. Tomorrow, we may have an earthquake.
What'cha gonna do? I think I'm going to go for a swim, open a bottle of pinot and grill a burger.
Paul Rattay is an Emerging Technologies Product Consultant, Photographer and Cheloniaphile who splits his time between Sonoma and San Francisco. On any given Friday around 5 p.m., you can find him and his band of hooligans at the Swiss Hotel fueling the local economy and sharing in foodie-isms.