The easy availability of weather-related channels on the Web has changed the way I view the four seasons–particularly the summertime. I’ve been regularly viewing a YouTube channel called “Direct Weather”. The young man who hosts the videos does a good job of explaining weather trends and phenomena for the continental United States.
Meantime, YouTube’s algorithm has added more weather videos and has shelved the other topics to oblivion. There is now a spate of tornado disaster and spotter videos crowding out the psychology and home improvement channels I really want to see. My mistake was clicking a couple of tornado chaser videos out of curiosity. While the chaser videos are compelling and exciting, they increase my anxiety levels. Now, whenever dark clouds appear in the west, I worry about hail and tornadoes.
The appearance of so many storm chaser videos in my feed reminds me of Dog Days sales that retailers utilize in order to quickly downsize slow-moving merchandise. I plan to watch a few more tornado videos then switch back to my usual fare. One “Direct Weather” video per day will be included in this mix, as usual. As I view fewer of the Dog Day algorithm videos, the selections choices will self correct to suggest my actual preferences.
The plethora of weather videos has caused my perception of seasonal transition to flatten out. The shift from spring storms to summer storms seems to be much more gradual than how I used to visualize it. In the past, spring to summer seemed more dramatic with an almost perceptible boundary between the two seasons. The shift probably isn’t factual, but the mind does funny things when memories are involved.
Now, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Dog Star–Sirius–is in the sky, above the Equator again. Canis Major will rule the season. The next several weeks will be hard-core summer. We officially began Dog Days this week. Summer means I worry more about the weather, so adjusting the YouTube algorithm will be affected by such concerns. Sure, this is a First-World problem, but it’s still frustrating.
There’s a part of me that says to just stop watching weather channels and go about each day in the manner I used to. However, ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing about upcoming weather trends does not guarantee smooth sailing across July through September. A certain amount of pre-warning is helpful in daily life.
I wonder if it’s being older that causes more worry about the weather. Perhaps part of the blame goes to social distancing. The increased focus on overall personal safety seems unhealthy. At the very least, there is too much time available to watch YouTube videos.
This worry might simply be a symptom of the necessity to get out and mingle more with people. While solitude is a good thing, this turbo-charged alone time encourages too much introspection. Everyone needs a certain amount of actual, physical face time with other humans.
Hopefully, this pandemic will fade away soon. We can imagine it as an experiment in how to live more effectively. That is how I see this period of forced solitude. Another way of seeing this situation, is that 2020 is a Dog Day sale item we regret bringing home.