One of the reliable conversation topics one can have in a conversation is the weather. Talking about the weather gets a bad reputation, as if one is so boring and so bored with one’s company that one is talking about the weather rather than something more interesting. Yet the weather is an interesting and sometimes quite controversial subject. Or at least, like many subjects, it has the potential for being an interesting subject in the hands of interesting people. Recently, for example, it has been extremely hot in the area. Today, for example, it was more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon where I lived, and that is simply too hot when one does not have air conditioning. This heat inspired, as the weather in the Pacific Northwest tends to do, a great deal of humorous memes based on the heat as well as how that heat was recorded on television, and as always I am amused at the way that the weather of the Pacific Northwest inspires humor about the weather itself and the response of people in the Northwest to that weather.
Why is it that people think the weather is a boring subject to talk about? In looking at my life, a substantial amount of interesting occurrences in life have been influenced by the weather. A few anecdotes will suffice. When I went to summer camp in England as a teenager in the Lake District, it rained nearly every day, to the point where the tents where the young ladies camped flooded multiple times, requiring laundry to be washed repeatedly to get the mud out. Occasional experiences being snowed in have led to some interesting driving experiences for me, including forcing me to spend a night over with some friends without a change of clothes for the sports day (and being unable to find clothes because stores were closed), and at other times forcing me to walk and drive in the snow in search of food. One time I remember visiting my father’s family farm in Pennsylvania and it rained for 40 days straight, making it nearly impossible to farm any crops. To be sure, weather can make a huge impact on one’s life and the ability to do one’s business.
Nor has weather been absent as a source of entertainment and sudden danger. With great winds have come tornadoes and hurricanes and the threat of massive wildfires, and I have not been immune to danger from these sources. Once, for example, I drove to church without realizing that I was in the path of a tropical storm that hit just as I was driving on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in a small two-door coupe without any cover, making my way with difficulty in the driving wind and rain. Had the storm been more severe it could have been a fatal error. I have similarly faced sunstroke in walking in dry heat because of transportation blunders, leading me in very difficult places, all the more dangerous given my own personal proclivity towards being dehydrated which has led me to search for cold water on a regular basis, sometimes to the amusement of those around me who see how much water I can put down while remaining thirsty.
How does one deal with the weather? Some friends of mine have found very inventive ways to use cold water to cool themselves down, as have I. Some people have celebrated their first and second air conditioners. Others among us went out to places we could stay cool for a few hours. And the same was the case yesterday and the same will likely be the case tomorrow, although alas I must spend a fair amount of time doing work myself. But that is how things go. However one stays cool, let us hope you manage it. This weather is nothing to play with, and certainly nothing to be bored by.