2009-07-13 05:40:15.000 – Mike Carmon, Observer and Meteorologist
I was sitting in the weather room this morning watching the fog roll in and out and caught a glimpse of the Northern Presidentials, partially obscured by clouds. I’m not sure why, but it brought a wave of reflection for me. I suddenly became aware that I have now been atop the summit for every month of the year. This brought back some intriguing memories.
It took me back to a muggy mid-July day in South Plainfield, NJ. I had just returned from an evening jog, and decided to check my e-mail. I noticed a message from Ken Rancourt regarding my internship application for the Mt. Washington Observatory. I had no idea what to expect, but when I opened the e-mail, I was ecstatic (somewhat of an understatement) to find I had been selected for an in-person interview. I quickly made plans to take off of work and make the 8 hour journey northward into the White Mountains.
I had never been to the area, so the situation was extremely overwhelming. A good friend of mine made the trip with me, and dutifully reassured me the entire time that I was a shoe-in for the position. Although I wasn’t quite as optimistic, I was extremely hopeful, as I knew an internship could open up many doors for my career in meteorology.
She dropped me off at the base of the auto road on the morning of Wednesday, July 30th. At the base of the mountain I met current observer Brian Clark along with Ken Rancourt, as well as a few former interns and observers. I also noticed another individual who seemed a bit out of place, and as I suspected, turned out to be another intern candidate, Jordan Scampoli. On my first trip to the summit, the first piece of scenery I witnessed that stuck out in my mind was the Northern Presidentials, which is most likely what inspired this flashback-of-a-comment.
When I arrived at the top that day, I met a host of individuals, many of which are no longer around. However, among the new faces were Mike Finnegan, Ryan Knapp, Steve Welsh, Jeff Wehrwein, Deb Mastro, and Stacey Kawecki. Jeff took Jordan and I around and gave us the ten-cent tour, a task I would soon be performing countless times. Mike was just roused from bed, as he was working nights at the time. Little did I know that I would soon learn the joys and hardships of working the night shift first hand. And Stacey immediately revealed herself as easy- and out- going, making us feel at home while grilling me about our mutual home state of New Jersey.
I was overwhelmed, to say the least, going in to the interview. But I did something right, because almost a year later, here I still am, now a full-time observer after completing a fall internship. Those five observers that sat around the conference room and interviewed me have been my co-workers for almost a year now. And in addition to that, thanks to my switch of shifts that occurred back in January, I have gotten to know them all much better.
Working in tight quarters for a week at a time allows people to really get to know each other. And through that, I got to know Stacey, Steve, and Jordan especially well. It sometimes is funny to think of the first time you met someone and remember what you thought of them. Then fast forward to the present, after you’ve known and interacted with them for a while and have seen what they are actually like and the relationship you’ve formed with them. People don’t always turn out how you expect, but it’s intriguing to look back every now and then and remember what you were thinking and feeling the first time you ever saw them. And despite Steve’s complaints about ‘what have you done to the weather?’ and Stacey’s ‘I can’t wait to get out of here’ Tuesday antics, I can safely say that the in-over-my-head feeling from that day almost a year ago was completely worth it.
Mike Carmon, Observer and Meteorologist