What’s the Big Deal about the Weather?

I was just about to start out this blog remarking upon the gloom that overtook me when the weatherman this morning said (with weatherman joie de vivre) we might have “wet snow” mixing with rain on Saturday morning.  And then it occurred to me that I always used to shake my head and smile, behind a concealing hand, when my English mother-in-law discussed the weather.  Which she did, on the average, five to six times a day.  Bless her heart and revered memory.

Which led me to the accompanying thought.  We get weather forecasts on our news radio station every ten minutes.  The news on TV always has a weather segment — admittedly emphasized when the weather is remarkable in one way or another, and here in Michigan, we get just about every kind of weather there is.  I always thought everyone in England talked about the weather so incessantly is because it’s so inescapable.  Much of the time it’s raining, with various intensities.  Sometimes it’s that dreadful damp cold that goes straight through to the bone.  When you have a sunny glorious day, you notice it, and it becomes the #1 topic of conversation for the day.

But that’s not true around here.  And yet weather is, indubitably, a big deal.  Why, I ask myself.  Why?

Is it because warm sunny weather is so life-enhancing?  But does it continue to be when you have warm sunny days following each other in predictable succession?  Maybe to develop a full-fledged weather obsession you have to be somewhere where what it’s like outside is not so predictable.  We had a wonderful picnic out in the woods a couple of weeks ago.  The beginning of October was absolutely wonderful around here.   It was particularly welcome after what I have been assured was a miserable rainy September.  We missed it — we were in England, where it rained, too, but not all the time.  But this is Michigan, the upper Midwest, and it’s no secret that days in the 70’s and low 80’s will not continue deep into the autumn.  So that sunny weekend in mid-October we decided it was the day for a picnic, and probably the last one for the year.  I made chef salad and we brought a bottle of white wine and we sat out under the trees (just beginning to turn color then, as it was still so warm) and we absolutely reveled in it all.

Would we have if we knew the next weekend would be equally pleasant?

So.  What difference does the weather make to you?  Do you listen to weather reports or (if you’re a real junkie) the Weather Channel?  Do you notice what’s going on outside, and if there’s precipitation, what variety it is?  If you do, why?  Why do we care about it all?

It’s raining out there now.  I’m going to hunker down and take a nap.

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8 Responses

  1. I remember reading a book once. Can’t remember who it was by…suspence, thriller type, and a big name. But anyway, the villian a terrorist from the Middle East had some internal dialogue where he wondered why Americans were so obsessed with the weather. His point was that the day would come no matter what and it couldn’t be changed. Hmmm…makes sense. But we are obsessed with the weather. Have no clue why.

    Enjoy the cold weather for the next few weeks. Sure you’ll be sick of it before long.

    • Hmm. I wonder about that. Do the people of the Middle East simply take the weather as it comes? Obviously it matters to enough people here to support all the news coverage there is, but I had always assumed that was an inheritance from the English, who have always seemed to me to be weather-obsessed. Pity that the only two countries I know intimately are the US and the UK!

  2. I notice and I care because I drive 110 miles every week day in whatever it’s doing out there.

  3. When I was younger I wondered why everyone cared so much. Now, it’s part of my planning-ahead personality. Are my kids dressed appropriately (not that they’ll listen even if they’re not half the time)? Should I take an umbrella? Do I need to walk the dog before the rain comes? What should I wear on my run?

    And then if nothing else, it gives two people with nothing else in common something to talk about. Give me a few years and I’ll be talking about my ailments too. 😉

    • Oh, criminy, Gwen! Don’t tell me that’s what comes next! But you’re absolutely right about it being a convenient conversation starter. For my very dear and greatly lamented mother-in-law, it went past that. There was nothing she liked more than an in-depth discussion of what it was doing yesterday, seemed to be doing now, and would possibly do tomorrow.

  4. Yeah, like Gwen said, it’s universal. It affects everyone, so it gives us all something to talk about.

    For the news aspect, I think it’s just one of those competition things. Too many news sources trying too hard to grab people. They overdramatize weather, and it drives me insane!

    I strive for a healthy balance. 🙂 I check outside first thing in the morning so I know if I have to drive the kid to the bus stop (which I have had to far too often this fall!). If I happen to hear it in passing, I’ll know what I should wear the next day. I try never to look beyond that, because…

    People! It’s WEATHER. It’s not predictable! Don’t tell me what’s expected six days from now! It’s got a lower chance of happening than me actually completing my to-do list for the week. LOL

  5. I don’t make plans around the weather forcast. Ours is crazy unpredictable. It could be hot one day cold the next. Now I might grab an umbrella if I hear there’s a high chance for rain. Love writing when it’s raining. Having to get out in it is an entirely different story. LOL

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