May the weather be with you

May the weather be with you


THERE was minor consternation in our household this week after it was revealed that one of the commercial television stations had hired someone new to present their weather reports. 

‘By the time a man is in his early 50s, by far the most interesting aspect of the evening news is what it’s going to be like tomorrow, as if taking an abiding interest in tomorrow somehow ensures he’ll live to see it.’

It seems the person in question is a former contestant on a television game show in which a significant number of men fought for her attention and she rejected them one by one until the least useless of them was left.

The process of rejection appeared to consist of a series of either mild sexually charged or socially awkward interactions followed by public rejection. Just like any Saturday night of my youth. 

Nevertheless, this appointment caused The Companion to stir and declare that while he’s a big fan of the Game Show Contestant in general, he harbours a degree of scepticism about this appointment specifically.

Weather forecasting is, he believes, a science, whereas picking a man is absolutely an art. Skill in one is no guarantee of success in the other, except insofar as the man in question is turned on by accurate weather forecasts. 

Generally speaking, interest in the weather increases with age so that by the time a man is in his early 50s, by far the most interesting aspect of the evening news bulletin is what it’s going to be like tomorrow, as if taking an abiding interest in tomorrow somehow ensures he’ll live to see it. Of course, the favoured news bulletin becomes the ABC. 

The Companion takes weather forecasts seriously. They dictate what he lays out to wear the next day. They can determine his mood, so that if something is planned that requires being outdoors but the forecast is poor, it will plunge him into quite the funk. And woe betide the forecaster who gets it wrong. I well remember the drone expedition that ended in disaster the day the ABC failed accurately to forecast high winds. And if I know it’s going to rain, there are cars I won’t take out because they either leak or become a real handful in the wet. Then it’s annoying to find it’s a glorious sunny day and I have a roof over my head.

I think, deep down, The Companion knows that the Game Show Contestant is actually quite well cut out to be a weather presenter and her experience as a game show contestant might stand her in good stead. One of those roles is essentially to be the front person for a massive operation that chugs along in the background, its workings unseen by most and misunderstood by many; and the other role is to be more or less the same thing.

In truth, what The Companion can’t stomach is the idea of being let down by the Game Show Contestant on those occasions that the operation she fronts makes an error of judgement and she looks responsible for it.

The Bureau of Meteorology can’t conduct a focus group, discover that a favourite contestant has been ditched and contrive a way to get him back in the frame. If it says it’s not going to rain tomorrow but it rains, the BOM just looks inept. And so does everyone who read its script (I’m looking at YOU, Nate).

But as Billy Connolly once said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. If the Game Show Contestant turns out be wrong a few times we can be confident that least the BOM isn’t deliberately manipulative.