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    Predicting A Storm Of Protest

    | Boulder, CO, USA | Geography, Math & Science, Theme Of The Month, Tourists/Travel

    (I work at an answering service that handles after-hours calls for various businesses. One of the accounts was a nice restaurant in the mountains of Colorado. A man calls one April to make a reservation.)

    Caller: “I was hoping for a table on May 16th?”

    Me: “It looks like there are various times open, so I can certainly set that up for you.”

    Caller: “Okay, great. I’m going to be vacationing up there with my wife.”

    Me: “Well, that sounds lovely!”

    (We set up his dinner reservation.)

    Caller: “So, can you give me any advice about what I should pack for a long weekend there? What is the weather like?”

    Me: “Well sir, Colorado weather is very unpredictable, particularly in the spring. I would advise bringing clothing options for all seasons and dressing in layers.”

    Caller: “I just want to know if I should pack warm clothes or short sleeves!”

    Me: “Yes, sir, I understand that. However, springtime in Colorado has weather ranging from snowstorms to hot and sunny.”

    Caller: “Oh, what nonsense. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Me: “Sir, I have lived in this state all my life. A common saying here is that if you don’t like the weather you should wait five minutes, and that holds true all year. Spring and autumn are the most unpredictable and varied when it comes to temperature, so—”

    Caller: “What was the temperature today?”

    Me: “Today? Well, this morning it was thirty degrees with heavy frost on the ground, and by noon it was about seventy-five with clear skies and sunshine—”

    Caller: “Are you trying to be difficult? There’s no reason to be a smart-a**, you know.”

    Me: “No, sir, not at all. I’m very genuinely trying to help you. Even for people who are used to it, weather changes here can be quite—”

    Caller: “You’re no help at all! I’ll just bring a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts.”

    Me: “Sir, please don’t do that. You will need warmer clothes in the mountains!”

    Caller: “So, now I should bring my winter clothes? Why didn’t you just say so?!”

    Me: “Well, you should, but bring some cooler clothes as well because—”

    Caller: “No! It has to be one or the other! I don’t want to bring more than I need!”

    Me: “You will definitely NEED options for highly variable temperatures. I’m very sorry, but—”

    Caller: “You’re useless! It’s just four days. It can’t be that complicated!”

    Me: “Look, four days ago it was shorts and tank top weather. Two days ago it snowed for a day and a night. I personally keep a heavy coat and a pair of sandals in my car because there are days when I need them both. Believe me, I wish it were all nice and predictable, but it really IS that complicated. I’m not making this up for fun.”

    Caller: “Oh, I’ve never heard such nonsense. Springtime is bound to be nice, so I’ll pack for that. Thanks for nothing!”

    Me: “Sir, I really advise—”

    Caller: “And cancel the dinner reservation!” *click*

    (May 16th turns out to be a properly variable week, with wind, rain, sun, and overnight snow.)