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Edvard Munch: At the Roulette Table in Monte Carlo (1892)
" … underdelivering by means of over threatening myself again."

The weather forecast reads like a sentence passed down by a vengeful judge. I can't stop looking for the train wreck coming. I probably imagine it being much worse than it's likely to end up becoming. I remember a hundred and fourteen from when I was a kid. My mom laid out blankets on the front room rug and invited us all to camp out there instead of heading outside. We quickly fell asleep, waking after the fiercest part was over. As if that time created a precedent for future ones, grave predictions of soaring temperatures send me to ground. I hunker down and let the worst of it blow around me, or so I imagine. I focus my outside efforts to early morning or just before sunset and I hole up through the blazing afternoon. Before air conditioning, I'd flee to the basement. Even with the heat pump, lower floors seem preferable.

I wondered if the weather forecast was even accurate.
Overall, NOAA claims that its forecast accuracy depends. Within five days, it's ninety percent, with a few caveats. Seven days' falls to eighty. Ten days out, it's fifty/fifty, with, again, caveats. Forecasts use percentages differently than you might expect. A fifty percent chance of rain does not necessarily translate into a fifty percent chance of rain falling on you. It means that there's a one hundred percent chance that fifty percent of the area covered by the forecast will experience rain. It's not a sentence, but a spread. That some parts of that area remain dry does not mean that the forecast was incorrect, just that some parts were unaffected precisely in the way predicted. Even if no rain falls on any of the area covered by the forecast, the prediction would still be half right and only half wrong. They predict a hundred percent chance of hell on earth or worse here over the coming ten days, which means, by their own admission, something less than a fifty percent chance, but that sure seems like a sure thing to me.

I face odds I cannot interpret. Nobody's gambler, I'm much better as misinterpreting than I suspect I'll ever be at conniving. I can't count cards. I don't really know the hierarchy of poker hands. I sit outside when The Muse enters a casino. I remain capable of Perdiction, though, that superpower capable of turning mere prediction into a sense of impending perdition. This heat wave sort of seems like an impending end of the world. The garden's bolting, water pressure plummeting, climate change threatening now more personally than theoretically. HomeMaking, there's no fleeing from this front. Thanks to my proclivity for Perdiction, though, the reality, whatever it becomes once the future finally shows, won't likely be nearly as bad as I've anticipated, so I'll likely feel delivered from something much worse, which I'd imagined and emotionally prepared for but which never, gratefully, happened. Most people think of this sort of response as Chicken Little behavior. The sky is always falling but it doesn't.

Home is where the heart is, but that's just the start of it. Dread dwells there, too, once you manage to acquire a place worth losing, one capable of experiencing threatening. I get all parental and protective, defensive against even the inevitable, perhaps especially when encountering the inevitable. I feel moved to lay out blankets on the living room floor and invite myself to camp out through the worst of whatever's coming. If I'm still there then, I'll know that my Perdiction kept me safe by blowing another inevitable all out of proportion, underdelivering by means of over threatening myself again.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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