small talk

It is with some disappointment, in myself and in the world in general, that I notice how the weather has become a topic of conversation for me. And not just a topic of conversation, not just a tiny grape on the casual-chat hors d’œuvres platter. No, it’s become the herb-encrusted wedge of brie, the last slice of Humboldt fog, that awesome cracker that the Cowgirl Creamery makes that I never remember the name of. Weather’s not just a topic of conversation—it’s a deeply interesting one.

With strangers and acquaintances and loved ones and pals, I want to share my opinion of the rain (low), my judgment in regards to the force and size of the storm (whew! boy howdy! it’s a doozy!), exactly how wet I got and how far up my legs the puddles crept (so wet! to my knees!) whether last year was as bad as this year (practically a drought last year! so strange, all this water that falls from the sky), the way the buses run (poorly) and pedestrians handle their umbrellas (extra super duper poorly), the chances of it continuing to storm like this (hopefully not—but December is usually wet ‘un, you know), and comparing weather war stories (I was waiting for the bus in the rain for 18 hours after my umbrella blew inside out and my coat suddenly melted from my shoulders and when the bus finally arrived it screeched so quickly into the stop that it ripped my pants off and splashed me head-to-toe with muddy water and then I smelled like wet dog for three weeks, caught the flu, and died!)—all the time nodding sagely and rolling our eyes in camaraderie and acting like old hands on an old farm who have been ‘round the old barn a time or two, and boy are those puddles deep (wet to the knee), and we end it all by shouting, gaily, “Stay dry! Ha ha ha!” as we charge back out into the storm and our next conversation about the weather.

I really, really dislike adopting that know-it-all, they say, old hat
and worldly-wise persona, and I can’t help it. I just can’t seem to
help it, when someone in line with me makes some throwaway “How is it
out there?” kind of remark that doesn’t need a reply, but here I am
with my reply anyway, because aren’t I a giver? And then I’m talking
out my ass about meteorology and we’re bonding over point pressures and
7-day forecasts and oh my God, my feet are wet too! Let’s be friends! And it is ridiculous and no one cares about the weather except that I
suddenly do. I have been sucked into the vortex of vapid small talk,
and I can’t escape.

I mean, the rain is everywhere—it keeps falling out of the sky with
no concern whatsoever for the feelings of others and it gets in your
collar and your eyes and fogs up your glasses and it’s really bad out
there, and I hope it lets up soon. I have clothes shopping to do. I got
caught in a downpour on Saturday. The train never came, and I had to
walk to a bus, and I was stupid enough to wear sneakers, and by the
time I got to Macy’s, I was wet to the knees. Man.

  5 comments for “small talk

  1. November 12, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    We do that at my job all winter when it thinks about snowing – jump on whoever just was outside and dissect the weather for several minutes, whether it might snow, whether it is cold, whether the winter is different than last year. Weird how weather is such a huge topic of conversation when there is any sort of change in it.

  2. November 12, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Awh, it’s not so bad. Discussing weather is one of the only sure-fire ways we have of connecting with total strangers. We’re social animals — we need to make little connections with each other. If discussing the weather accomplishes that, then I think it’s all good.

  3. November 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Sounds like I need to move up there! We’d kill for a little bit of rain here in Orange County. It is so incredibly dry! One of the top things I miss most about my home state of Missouri is the thunderstorms. I’ve lived here in California three years and have heard thunder maybe three times and haven’t been in a real downpour in at least 2 1/2 years. I’m ready to start a rain dance!

    I’ve always been a wet weather kind of girl and I doubt I’ll ever learn to love this (much) drier climate.

  4. November 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Sounds like I need to move up there! We’d kill for a little bit of rain here in Orange County. It is so incredibly dry! One of the top things I miss most about my home state of Missouri is the thunderstorms. I’ve lived here in California three years and have heard thunder maybe three times and haven’t been in a real downpour in at least 2 1/2 years. I’m ready to start a rain dance!

    I’ve always been a wet weather kind of girl and I doubt I’ll ever learn to love this (much) drier climate.

  5. November 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Sounds like I need to move up there! We’d kill for a little bit of rain here in Orange County. It is so incredibly dry! One of the top things I miss most about my home state of Missouri is the thunderstorms. I’ve lived here in California three years and have heard thunder maybe three times and haven’t been in a real downpour in at least 2 1/2 years. I’m ready to start a rain dance!

    I’ve always been a wet weather kind of girl and I doubt I’ll ever learn to love this (much) drier climate.

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