Growing up as a clamdigger (that’s someone born and raised along the New Jersey coast—long before it became the “Jersey Shore”), we were able to sense a storm coming without the help of weather people. The ocean became ornery, our mothers got headaches not due to us, and the seagulls left their gourmet food that the sea provided and decided that maybe humans were right in loving their morning donuts, thus they descended en masse on parking lots, searching for Boston Cream crumbs. Our fathers seemed hurried (or maybe it was our mothers spurring them into action) as they cleaned gutters and put up storm windows. Babies fussed more than normal. Then the wind kicked up, the rains or snow came, and we hunkered down, as always prepared with non-perishable food (still can’t figure out why people run to stores for milk and eggs).
So now the powers-that-be probably sat around a large conference table last week and pondered how else they can stir humans up into a frenzy. 24/7 reporting weeks before a storm was good but getting old. Live videos of weather forecasters on beaches or hotel balconies, holding onto their caps and last shreds of dignity, was better even, but how could they grab us by the belt and continue this intensive news reporting long after the disaster claimed furniture, photos, and unfortunately, lives.
In their infinite wisdom they came up with naming nor’easters. If hurricanes could be named, why not winter storms? Athena is the first. A beautiful name that I so wish wasn’t attached to a storm that came so close on the heels of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. We were just breathing a sigh of relief that we were slowly getting power back when the weather people excitedly showed us swirling clouds heading our way. And they proudly announced her name.
I wonder how many new parents-to-be will be naming their baby girls Sandy or Athena or (and if they’re not sure which storm the baby was conceived during) Sandy Athena.