It used to be that I would mock the idea of people talking about the weather, as though they were somehow shirking some peripatetic ideal to be philosophizing all the time, always having opinions, always sharing them, etc. This, I think, is a mistake of the young—to be convinced that what you think holds any value just because you’re the person thinking it and that you’re somehow doing others a favor by letting them know what you think. Like the young atheist convinced they’re the first person ever to not believe in a God, or the environmentalist not yet old enough to drive loudly advocating everyone give up their cars. Ugh.

The lesson of age: No one gives a shit.

Climatically speaking, there’s been much to discuss thus far into 2011. Every week in January brought another snowstorm (blizzard if you’re in Massachusetts), and February’s strange and random 60-degree days were easy fodder for conversation in any number of circumstances, be it at the bar, at school, at shows or wherever. I’ve probably talked more about the weather this year than any other in my life, even if you count wishing for snow days off from grade school.

I don’t so much think that’s because I’ve suddenly gained a profound interest in meteorological studies. I haven’t. I suppose that stuff is fascinating in a passing kind of way, but I’d never make a life out of it and can’t really understand why those who do would. The difference, then, is that it’s easy to talk about the weather, easy to avoid the very opinion-spouting that seemed to typify my youth, and most of all, easy for me to end the conversation and go about my business when I’m ready.

Hate to say it, but chances are, unless I’ve already known you for years, if we’re talking, I probably don’t want to be. I know that socializing is an essential human experience and that it’s the way we interact—both when we’re bombing the crap out of each other and not—that makes us who we are, but frankly, I’ve never been very good at it and I enjoy it about as much as I enjoy cleaning all this damn snow off my car.

And can you believe how much snow we’ve been having? Isn’t it crazy? It’s like this tiny flaky powdery stuff falling from the sky!

Bring on the weather chit-chat. It’s better than having to tell someone my embarrassingly ignorant views on politics or whatever the issues of the day might be, and it’s certainly better than having to listen to anyone tell me theirs. You want to tell me you think advertising is actively diluting personal experience into gender stereotypes and exploiting young and old alike? Well, you can go for it, but unless I’ve already got four drinks in me, I can’t promise to give a damn. Until then, take it somewhere else, Wittgenstein.

Talking about the weather allows me to keep from bombarding you with what I think and keeps you from doing the same, because I’ve yet to meet the person—my wife included—who is more interested in my take than what he or she has to say about any given topic, and it’s goddamn torturous to have to sit and listen to someone expound on their beliefs when you don’t care. And mostly, I don’t care.

So let’s talk about the weather. You can tell me how much time you spent shoveling the latest six inches of snow from your driveway and I can tell you how lucky I feel that my brother-in-law gained access this year to a plow, or better yet, I can tell you about Dipshit McGee and the ice sheet that came off the top of his minivan and shattered my windshield (which I did in the Feb. 9 Deleted Scenes), and you can say, “Wow, that’s nuts,” and I can say, “I know!” and then we can go about our business and get back to our lives. Because it’s not necessarily that we’re shirking our responsibility to be thinking, considerate people by engaging in such mindless chatter, but rather, perhaps, that we’re allowing for the possibility that the other person might want to get back to doing that instead of standing around and talking to us.

And if there’s enough going on in weather-wise to carry me over for the next couple weeks until I can start bullshitting about baseball instead, I fail to see how that’s not a win.

Plow baby plow,

JJ Koczan

jj@theaquarian.com

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