That was the question, "Is this the new normal?" posed to me Monday morning. It came to me via a headline, but it occurred to me that it could have been in regards to a number of different topics. A discussion of the latest mass shooting? The latest update of the kerfuffle we call Washington D.C.? This one was referencing the most recent wildfire in California, burning fifty-some miles to the north of my current location. Power was out. Schools were closed.
At least this is what I was told. Electricity was on at my house and the school where I work was open for business. As usual. Is this the new normal?
Is it normal for California's utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, to shut off half of their obligation to users still bound to that public grid? Is it normal for the weather forecast to include the phrase, "clear skies, except for all the smoke?" Is it normal for our state's governor to lambaste the state's power company, while also reminding the public not to take out their frustrations on the men and women climbing the poles to bring the lights back on?
Is climate change normal?
We are currently in what would best be described as uncharted waters. After a few years of overhead electrical lines snapping in the wind and sparking devastating wildfires, one might begin to notice a trend. Climate change isn't just making your local weather person's job more difficult. It's creating a world with unforeseen challenges. The school district for which I work has spent the past few weeks running around in circles trying to come up with a consistent message to its one hundred eighteen sites and fifty thousand students. Come to school? Stay home? Go to school but be prepared to go home. Teachers? Be prepared to go to work. Or stay home. Or work at another site. Or pack it up and move to another state that has more predictable weather. Like Florida.
I'm a kidder.
But I don't know what is normal. Not anymore. I mean, who could have predicted Goat Yoga would be a thing?