There’s nothing more rote, pedestrian, or undeniably American than talking about the weather. I took an Intercultural Communication class in college, and my instructor noted that Americans talk about the weather more than any set of folks on the planet. She didn’t offer an explanation why. I have one.
We talk about the weather because this country is so goddamn big, and because everyone you meet is from pretty much everywhere – we’re a very itinerant people, you know – the differences in climate in this giant expanse we call America are both different enough to be noteworthy, and interesting enough to converse about.
My friend Mike was in town yesterday, and he spent the weekend in Steamboat with his family. He told me the weather in Los Angeles has consistently been around or above 110. And he lives in the Valley, so that might as well be hell when the temperature gets that high. His brother now lives in India, and while he didn’t specify what the weather was like in India (I can probably guess), he said he made it a point not to overplay how gorgeous Colorado was in September. I suspect it would have bummed out his brother, who not only didn’t get to see his extended family, he missed out on one of the best times of the year in one of the greatest places in all the world.
We have friends in Chicago, and one who moved there not long ago. Having visited Chicago dozens of times growing up to visit family, I was in no way surprised when Kristin told me her friend hated the Chicago weather. I’ve been to Chicago in literally every month of the year, and the weather pretty much always sucks. It’s freezing, it’s humid, it’s muggy, it’s brutally hot, it’s generally not regularly sunny – it’s just fucking horrid and noticeable in a bad way 99% of the time.
I was in Houston a couple of weeks ago, and as I exited my hotel to climb into my rental car at 7 am, it was already 88 degrees with approximately 9000% humidity. The weirdest thing about it was that the smell in the air – which was neither positive nor negative, but incredibly distinct – brought me back to my time living there. I might as well have been climbing into my Volkswagen Jetta and heading off to The Woodlands High School, for how evocative the heat made the air smell. I called my friend Stephen and noted this to him, and he said, “Yeah, whenever I go to Colorado I’m struck by how the air smells like nothing. You’re right, the smell in Houston is not good or bad, it’s just very present.”
The East Coast got its ass kicked last year with a brutally cold winter. Unlike Colorado, when it snows a shitload, or gets pummeled by an extreme cold snap, that shit just hangs around like herpes for weeks at a time. In Colorado, it’ll generally melt within a few days and get back to 55 degrees and sunny. It’s sort of amazing how schizophrenic the weather can be here.
Lewis Black has a bit where he says the easiest job in the entire world is being the television weatherman in San Diego, CA. You get six figures a year basically to have some haircut throw it to you and ask, “So what’s the weather like today?” All you have to say is, “Nice. Back to you.” Although if you’ve ever hung out with someone from California in a place that is not California, you’ll note what pussies they are about weather outside that 65-82 degree window.
The reason I’ve been thinking about all this fucking weather at all is that fall is coming, and I always get a little depressed about it. My birthday comes right before Labor Day, and while I always look forward to it, I know the end of summer is right around the corner. In the past, it also meant I was back in school after a summer full of fun, and now it means I’m going to get busy as fuck for reasons I have never understood. But pretty much without exception, my autumns are without question the busiest time of year for me. Longer hours, crazier deadlines, and colder weather. Blargh.
I love when it’s warm out. Sitting outside in the sunshine, good tunes on the box, cold beer, and the sweet smell of summer. And then fall comes, starts to erode that, and forebodes the long, cold, dark winter where everything is dead, everyone’s sick, and we’re all cooped up inside. Fuck that. And fuck the wet pant cuffs, the raw noses, and the frosty fingers. I am affected by this more than I realized.
As I continue to prep as best I can for our little girl, one thing I’ve read over and over is how difficult it is to leave the house in the first few months. Evidently this baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours, and she’s not going to be a terrible amount of fun at the start. Cry, eat, shit, sleep, repeat. Okay.
I pretty much never look forward to the Winter, and Fall is the harbinger of its wintry malaise.
But I can think of no better way to spend my Winter than holed up in the house with my two favorite ladies. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to colder weather more.
Bring on November.