Over the years, I have compiled a list of things I absolutely hate. Usually, when I am so compelled as to hate something, the hate is temporary, as I can manage to find some good in just about everything. But some things are without redemption. The top is, and always will be, occupied by the movie, musical or anything related to "Grease." I will not budge on that. The rest has room for fluctuation. Spots are filled by "sweatpants" and "movies about creepy children" and "the word 'hubby.'" However, usually hovering around the middle of the list, sometimes in the 5 to 7 range, is "talking about the weather."
Talking about the weather is one of those things people do automatically, without really realizing why they are doing it or what they expect from the conversation. I guess there are just some formalities that don't really make sense, but are done as a part of socializing and etiquette. Modern folk don't usually believe that saying "bless you" crams your soul back into your nose, but we do it anyway. Weather chat usually just tells you what you already know - it's hot, it's cold, it's gonna rain - but seems well-suited to fill an awkward 30 seconds of elevator-riding or line-waiting.
I am not adverse to having good manners, or taking part in the kooky traditions of society. But when you think about it, talking about the weather serves little purpose. You're not going to change weather. You won't elicit thought-provoking responses from others. It seems almost compulsory, done without thinking. Bill Murray from "Groundhog Day" knows what I'm talking about. This is exemplified by professional cutie pie Zooey Deschanel, who in her iPhone commercial asks Siri, "Is it raining outside?" while standing in front of A WINDOW. Now, I'm sure her skull is filled with brains instead of Urban Outfitter catalogs, but that is just dumb. Mindless weather chat can happen to anyone, even manic pixie dream girls.
There are plenty of other topics that can unite and are common to all of us as humans, such as "I hate when you have to go to the bathroom and there's no toilet paper" or "Gee, I hope our planet is never invaded by aliens." Think of the conversations that could result. Now that's time-killing. Not just a simple "yep," or the looking up at the sky that people do when they're discussing weather. As if a giant black cloud suddenly will roll in, or the clouds will part revealing a shining sun with a big happy face on it.
Weather chat has evolved into a sort of weather-obsession. There are countless services and gadgets and websites and apps and other methods of finding out about the weather in your area, the weather in other areas, and the weather of the past, the future and the present. I've heard tell of people who watch The Weather Channel all day. For fun. There must be some sort of subliminal messages hidden behind the soft rock and clip art of clouds, because The Weather Channel seems to have the sort of effect seen when there is a marathon of "The Golden Girls" or "The Shawshank Redemption" on TV somewhere. Really, what is it with "Golden Girls" and "Shawshank?" I can't not watch either of those. Maybe those shows have subliminal weather reporting going on in the background. Now, that would be interesting.
As Ohioans, we should know better. The saying goes, "If you don't like the weather in Ohio, wait five minutes." We've had earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fogs, hail, and all manner of meteorological abuse. This past winter, we had a honest-to-Betsy "thunderblizzard," five minutes after which the sun was shining. Even Stan Boney would say that is some messed-up stuff. You can't make this up. So why try to predict it?
It is summer. It is hot. It's gonna be hot. I love it, personally. Bring it on. For me, there are only two kinds of weather, Winter and Not-Winter. Not-Winter, I'll take with whatever lumps come along with it. Barring an outdoor picnic or outing, most days won't be ruined by a little unpredictability. Perhaps a midday rainstorm will change your life. You'll duck under an awning with a handsome stranger or something. Unpredictability is good. That's why we have umbrellas and sweaters and insurance. So toss an umbrella in your bag, and set out into the world, where there's at least a 70 percent chance of adventure.