From the title, you’re probably thinking, “wow, he’s really reaching for content now—he’s literally writing a post about the weather.” Well, yes, it’s a bit of a stretch for a blog post, but while enjoying the absolutely glorious weather this past weekend, I began contemplating the topic. It’s perhaps not quite as trite as we think.
Weather as a topic has a reputation for being the bare minimum of polite social discourse: it’s what you discuss when you have nothing else to say, but saying nothing is too awkward to be viable. That reputation is largely accurate, to be fair: that’s what I talk about when I feel like I must say something to be polite, but there’s zero connection with the other person.
That said, discussing the weather takes on a different meaning when you live in a place like South Carolina. It’s like talking about water if you live on Arrakis, the planet from Frank Herbert’s Dune. Good weather is such a treat—such a reprieve from summer’s unbearable humidity—that it’s a major topic of conversation. Because there’s no guarantee that cool weather will stay, discussing it takes on a new import: how long do we have to enjoy the current lower temperatures and dryer air?
On a particularly sunny Sunday—especially after a long stretch of rain—I’ll play the old hymn “Heavenly Sunlight” (Number 129 in the Free Will Baptist Hymnal) for Sunday morning service. If I’m feeling particularly cheeky, I’ll play it as an instrumental prelude on a rainy or overcast today (of course, I’ve also snuck in snippets of the keyboard solo from Van Halen’s “Jump,” so an incongruous hymn choice is probably the least of my Sunday morning playfulness).
For a long time, weather was the last thing that people could talk about that didn’t devolve into a friendship- or marriage-ending discussion about politics. Sadly, the tentacles of Leftist dogma have reached into this once-benign topic, too. When was the last time a big storm blew through your area, or a hurricane or the like hit, and some colleague or co-worker smugly intoned that such severe weather is a sign of “climate change“? Even a heat wave—very common here in the South, and in much of the country—is attributed to the mystical whims of Mother Gaia, taking her mercurial revenge on humanity for continuing to use the internal combustion engine.
In that regard, a benign—even a casually empty—conversation about the weather is, like most other forms of polite discourse, now risks hyper-politicization.
The net effect: no one ever wants to talk about anything.
Anyway, nice weather we’ve been having, no?