My Summit Vices Part 4: So Many “Vices”

2017-12-14 22:29:07.000 – Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist


After a quick Google search to determine what “vice” means, I had compiled a list of things that related to the definition I found on Mike has since corrected me and I have rearranged my list (I was extra confused at first as to why he wanted us to write about these “vices”). Thanks for the clarification, Mike! One definition I found was “an immoral or evil habit or practice”. Supposedly, these vices could someday become immoral or “evil” if I partake to a level that might be considered unhealthy. An example of that would be Adam in a snow fort with a lifetime supply of Dr. Pepper and a speaker system that only played electronic music.

ANYWAY, working on the summit of Mount Washington can at times make you a little stir-crazy, and it is crucial to provide yourself with outlets to keep your morale high! Once the day crew descends downstairs into the bear-pit (Living Quarters), Marty and I start the party and get the music blasting. I listen to a very wide and distinguished assortment of music genres ranging from Snoop-A-Loop (Snoop Dogg) to Muse and even to a little Taylor Swift and Halsey. Taylor Swift and Halsey are really just for Marty… On those nights where I am deicing our weather instruments 2 – 3 times per hour and the winds are gusting over 100 mph, the music gets turned up to levels where the bass trembling through the walls can knock some of that ice off before I even get up to the tower. Yes, that is a bold strategy Cotton (watch the movie “Dodgeball” to understand that reference).

Movies and TV shows are another way for us to avoid that stir-crazy twitch that starts to develop around day 6. Before the sun-seeking day-dwellers go to bed, we typically gather around the TV downstairs and put on a movie or TV show. Nicole already ruined this one for me and discussed the shows that we watch so I will abruptly end this vice description…

SPORTS. I am enthralled by all professional sports because I truly feel like if I was bigger, a lot more athletic, way more coordinated and competitive I could have turned pro myself. I also enjoy the fantasy sports realm of DraftKings/Fanduel and the small-scale leagues that my friends beat me in. I listen to a variety of podcasts each week that prepare me to win $1,000,000 of which I will donate to my bank account and student loans. I also enjoy watching sports, with an emphasis on Pittsburgh sports, as I am a die-hard Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates fan. During the NFL football season, “Sunday’s are for the Caleb’s” (Caleb).

One of the great benefits for those who are members of the Mount Washington Observatory is our volunteer program. We typically have two volunteers with us on shift who cook dinner each night. Apart from cooking dinner, they have the week to explore the mountains and experience the beautiful weather, as well as the brutal conditions that frequently bombard the summits. This is for sure a mutual bonus, as my fellow shift mates and I get a delicious home cooked meal each night. I am quite spoiled up here on the summit and then the good eats continue on my off week because my fiancé, Molly, is a legendary cook.

Speaking of Molly, another of my vices up here (this one can never be an immoral or evil habit) that I look forward to each day is my conversations with her. The most difficult thing for me each week is being away from her, so it is crucial to be able to talk with her each day.

These are all of the things apart from my obvious vice, which is weather. The shifts featuring a constant barrage of intense weather conditions are the ones that fly by! This is what we live for up here on the mountain. The weeks that we are constantly deicing, shoveling, and battling winds over hurricane force are the ones that we love and the reason that we keep coming back to this majestic 6,288 foot well-formed pile of rocks. Someday, I suppose that these “vices” could turn into the ominous definition.

  • I could listen to music too loud and my eardrum might explode

  • I could watch too much TV to the point where I would keep watching after the power went out

  • I might accidentally win a million dollars on DraftKings and panic and spend it all and forget about my student loans

  • I could even eat too much food and my hips would lie

  • Worst case scenario, I might end up in Adam’s snow fort

For now, all of these vices keep me sane and allow me to enjoy this amazing job during those shifts where I forget what visibility is. Word of the day… VICE


Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist

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