Weather, Revisited

March 3, 2009



When I first moved to New York, I was shocked at how frequently the weather was brought up in daily conversation. It didn’t matter if rain, snow, or even frogs were falling from the sky above; weather always seemed to be an “in-conversation.”

I didn’t get it. I considered weather-talk as the lowest common denominator of human interaction. I assumed that when you had nothing else to talk about, you resorted to weather. (“I think it’s supposed to snow next week,” “I blame this on global warming.” “I blame this on W. Bush.”)  

At the risk of resorting to sweeping generalizations, it seemed like everyone on this coast memorized the windchill factors and ten-day forecasts. Not because of an intellectual passion for climate science but this information was essential for all interpersonal functions.

I should note that I didn’t hold a disregard for weather in general. Just weather-talk. (I am an east-coast transplant. I am going to miserable during extreme weather cycles.) But instead of talking about humidity percentage, I figured my social interactions should be about more pressing topics such as Iraq, the economy, or  the evolution of my facial hair. That was the distinction between me and everyone else. Or so I thought

I subscribed to the “weather-conversation-is-fluff” school of thought from September 1, 2007 to March 2, 2009. The external circumstances concerning my conversion shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise to anyone that pays attention to the weather, which as I assume is the vast majority of New York’s 8 million residents.  

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