I worked my normal shift last night, getting home around midnight. By 12:30 AM I was downstairs, on the sofa, computer at my side, watching some shows I had recorded¹ while away in Florida. Helaine and Stef were asleep. The house was quiet.
Then, the phone rang.
I figured it was my Cousin Michael or my friend Paul. They’re the only two who would call at that time… though Michael would be calling on my cellphone not the family number that was ringing. I moved quickly to the phone, trying to catch it before it woke the girls.
It was Gil Simmons, one of our meteorologists at the station. I didn’t need him to tell me how awful he was feeling because I immediately heard it in his voice.
Gil was scheduled to work 5:00 – 7:00 AM on-the-air, filling in for Dr. Mel who already had the day off and was unavailable. Matt Scott, our other meteorologist, is in France. That left me.
The last time we got this far down the depth chart was 20 years ago when I stayed all night and did morning coverage for the arrival of Hurricane Gloria.
What are you going to do in a situation like this? I really couldn’t say no. I definitely didn’t want Gil to try and leave the house… not that he could. Yes was my answer. I was going to go back to work.
It was already too late to think of getting any sleep, so I killed some time and went upstairs to change from pajamas to a suit.
I left the house a little before 3:00 AM and made it to the station very quickly. As little traffic as there is at midnight… that’s like rush hour compared to 3:00 AM. The streets near my house were empty. There weren’t many more cars or tucks on I-91 as I headed south.
Every show on TV has its own individual format. As I walked in, I immediately headed to the producers and asked them to give me a little slack as I felt my way around this foreign ground and then headed to my desk to draw maps and update the forecast.
I was surprised at how quickly the two hours on-air went by. There are lots of weather hits and certainly a concentration on a very short term forecast – much more so than what I do at night.
I was back home and back in bed before 9:00 AM. Of course I still had my ‘real’ job! So, after a few hours of sleep, it was back at work.
I wouldn’t want to do it everyday, but considering the circumstances, working a double is doable.
I will be curious later tonight to see how quickly I go to bed after getting home. I’m saying this as if I have no free will in the matter, which often seems close to the truth. I can tell you with over four hours before quitting time, I’m dragging.
¹ – What will happen to the word “taped?” With DVR’s TV shows will be stored on disk, not videotape. Still, we talk about “dialing” a phone number, even though we’re punching it out on a keypad.