Small talk and the weather
go hand in hand.
Among small talk topics, I think we turn to the weather because it immediately comes to mind as the one thing that exists that affects us all.
Sure, there are other potential common denominators. We could talk about what your first kiss was like. We could talk about your favorite childhood memory, or the book that’s next on your reading list.
We could talk about the last thing you thought about before you went to sleep, or the first thing you thought about when you woke up.
Your favorite place to be, your favorite season. Your go-to karaoke song, the last time you felt proud, or what makes you laugh really, really hard. Your hopes, dreams, past loves, future ambitions.
But weather discriminates against no one. Weather has existed for as long as the earth has had an atmosphere. Weather has no anthropomorphic qualities (except maybe temper).
No one reacts deeply to snow. No guttural emotions arise when we talk of a light drizzle. We don’t reflect on sunshine. The wind has no heart.
In the maelstrom of life, we’re often too busy, tired, or scared to feel human with others: co-workers, friends of friends, people you pass by in the hallway.
So let’s give each other that cordial, curt nod and talk about the weather.
And if it rains, we’ll share an umbrella.
But maybe we could get to the other questions too.
Based on my poem “so let’s share an umbrella,” 6 march 2013.