My wife, Marcia, and I do not know how the local weather service estimated wind gusts in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, December 1st of this year, but we do know that they blew it. The reported wind velocity of 24 kilometers/hour (15 miles/hour) is simply not what happened and, sadly, we have witnesses.
The Beaufort Wind Force Scale, a measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions, classifies wind blowing at 24 kph as a “Moderate Breeze.” The scale advises us to anticipate…
Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move.
Dust and loose paper?
Granted, we now live on a high and frequently windy hill in the Jerusalem suburb of Giv’at Massuah, but the Beaufort’s Scale’s so-called moderate breeze, last Thursday night, lifted then blew a small, wall-mounted table tray (pictured below) over the rooftop parapet of our five story building and sent it tumbling past our kitchen window. After falling two stories, it crashed (at impressive volume) onto our neighbors’ patio, below.
We jumped out of bed and ran to investigate the sonic boom while the Moderate Breeze howled outside. The lights were on in the apartment below so, we assumed, our neighbors had also noticed. I’m thankful that they did not step outside into the weather, look up and spot me, the perpetrator, staring down from my window, gap-mouthed, at the wreckage in their laps. It’s worse than it sounds. These folks are not ordinary neighbors. Months earlier, while we were moving in, Marcia briefly met the Orthodox lady who lives downstairs when she found time to scold Marcia in Hebrew for not waiting until Passover to clean our filthy windows.
Her complaint had arisen from a trickle of wash water that had run from our apartment down to her patio. But now roughly fifteen pounds of mangled metal lay cockeyed on her porch, delivered by the breeze.
Having placed the innocent-seeming stand on the rooftop this summer, I never imagined it would become a doomsday device. On the bright side, nothing downstairs seemed broken and, clearly, no one had died. On the dark side, come morning, I had no choice but to go downstairs, confess and grovel for neighborly grace.