Years ago I wrote that my father and I had a stormy relationship. And then clarified it by saying we both liked to chase storms. We were armchairs storm chasers, though, older than I am now, he would still go out during a hurricane to ciclonear, as we called it back home. That is, he would try to step out into the wind and rain until my mother pulled him in. In his youth, a ciclon would be an excuse for young folk to go out into the chaos because the young love chaos, and sometimes do good deeds like rescue people stranded in the storm.
I was never that adventurous but I loved to track the hurricanes, and though they could be deadly their mayhem never depressed me like the items of violence that crossed a newspaper's editorial meetings on a daily basis. Acts of God somehow seemed more benign than Acts of Man, which seemed more like Acts of Satan.
So, armed with the latest radar info from weather channels -- later from the Internet -- I would call my dad and discuss where el meteoro, as the weathermen of my hurricane-spiked tropical childhood would call it, was likely to make land. My father was armed with a thermometer-barometer from the '50s that he probably bought at Havana's Sears and matched our Danish Modern living room set, also from Sears and very uncomfortable.
His other tool was the memory of an old Caribbean man. The hurricane of X year, that's how his generation spoke of it before the days of Andrew and Katrina. And that memory of the path taken by a hurricane he factored into the information the Sears Danish Modern thermoteter-barometer gave him.
I don't recall who came closer to calling it because it didn't matter. We were enjoying ourselves playing amateur meteorologists, armchair cicloneros. The Sears thermometer/barometer hangs on my living room wall now, but I don't consult it. I follow the increasingly sophisticated online prognosticators, wishing I could match them against a reading of the instrument that needs a Caribbean memory of ciclones gone by to work properly.