My Summit Vices, Part 1: Coffee, Tunes, and ‘Flix
2017-12-02 14:17:08.000 – Mike Carmon, Senior Meteorologist & Education Specialist
We work hard 12-14 hour days (or nights) while on shift, and although our work is enjoyable and rewarding, it can also be a bit tiring. Just like most of you folks probably do, all of us up here at our summit office/home have those activities that keep us running throughout the sometimes long and foggy weeks. While they may not necessarily be considered vices, we may indulge a little too much in some of these things, which may from the outside (and to our very-understanding coworkers) appear as overindulgences. Nevertheless, it’s these perks and niceties that keep our bodies and brains operating at maximum efficiency for week-long stints at 6,288 feet.
(1) (1) THE DARK ROAST GROUNDS
…aka coffee. I’ve never been a morning person (just ask Caleb, Adam, Kyle, or any number of former interns), so 5:30AM always seems to come remarkably early for me. One of my tried-and-true morning rituals is a hazy walk over to the coffee machine in the corner of the office, measuring out a healthy 5 or 6 heaping scoops of strong Good Vibes coffee, pouring water in, and tapping the proverbial On button for the machine to do its magic. The wonderful sound of the drip, drip into the coffee pot, the intoxicating aroma infiltrating the still morning air in the office, and the inevitable soft yet stern beep signaling that the concoction is ready for consumption is a ritualistic progression that brings about the most rewarding of sips come approx. 6AM. I probably average about 3 cups throughout the work day, with my final cup making its appearance about an hour after lunchtime to bring me out of the inevitable post-lunch drag. Some days I’m pushing 4-5 cups if sleep the night before was a little hard to come by, but all in all, I’m satisfied that my coffee habit is in a fine and healthy balance.
(2) (2) THE CRANKED SPEAKERS
…aka music. Through the bulk of the day, particularly during the summer months, the weather room is a hub of activity: tours, radio shows, facebook live programs, educational videoconferences, day and overnight guests, etc. However, during those pre- and post- hustle-and-bustle times, the weather room sits largely still and silent. It’s an exceptionally nice perk of working in a remote location to crank up the tunes, particularly as darkness approaches, and get lost in work tasks with a soundtrack of perfection filling the background void. The members of my shift all have quite different tastes in music with a little bit of crossover here and there. Largely, you can find me listening to my reliably favorite artists: Twenty One Pilots, Foster the People, Cage the Elephant, The Black Keys, New Medicine, New Politics, Papa Roach, and many, many more.
♫“My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.“♫
(3) (3) SUSTAINED STREAMING SESSIONS
…aka Streaming Movies, Shows, etc. The weather keeps us inside for large chunks of time due to its severity, so having indoor hobbies during downtime is important. While I could tell you that I’m an avid reader and spend my evenings curled up on the couch with a good book, that’s just not true (although I do enjoy a good read occasionally). On the other hand, our reliable internet connectivity allows us to stream virtually anything we’d want via Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Comedy Central, etc. Our shift certainly has its favorites: Game of Thrones is at the top of the list, along with Stranger Things, Parks and Recreation, The Office, and The Daily Show. On fall and winter Sundays, it’s always football time on our shift, and when we’re in the mood for a change of pace, we’ll find a good flick to carry us through the non-working hours.
(4) (4) FELINE TIME
…It is nice to have a furry friend at our summit home. While Marty certainly has his own special brand of personality, he does provide the occasional distraction from work duties.
(5) (5) PHONE A FAMILY, VID CHAT A FRIEND
This is certainly no vice here. It can be a tricky thing, leaving behind one’s life in the valley every other week for the vastly-different pace and environment of the summit. Staying in touch with loved ones at home is lifeblood for me personally while on shift, and thanks to the perpetually-expanding world of social media, this has never been easier. I can seamlessly call my family at home in New Jersey and check in on matters down there from my desk perched atop the Rockpile. I always look forward to my video chats throughout the course of a shift with my lovely fiancé Jesse and our positively playful pup, Skook, whose happy faces (and tail wags, in Skook’s case) still translate wonderfully over FaceTime. It can be easy to lose touch with the world below being engrossed in the day-to-day of work atop the summit, so this for me is by far the most vital of my list.
Mike Carmon, Senior Meteorologist & Education Specialist