In our ancestors’ days, the weather truly was a vitally important part of their daily lives, even determining their very survival.
For those of us who are farmers, weather is still a key ingredient in a family’s livelihood. It can be responsible for the success or failure of crops for a huge population.
For the struggling portion of the population who are homeless, again the weather is a force to be reckoned with every day.
But for the majority of us average Real Women, those who are blessed enough to have fairly climate controlled roofs over our heads, food from grocery stores, and jobs or activities that are indoors, what are our excuses for our fascination with it?
First, weather is that safe topic, easily used for idle chit-chat on an elevator or to fill awkward silences. There seems to be no harm in stating the obvious to each other , like “sure is hot today” or “I heard it is supposed to rain later.” It is also one of those rare topics with which it is socially exceptable to disagree. Some love cold weather, some hot. And we gladly discuss these differences with smiles on our faces, even if we walk away thinking “is she crazy? She loves snow??”
The vocabulary we have available to us for the weather is astonishing. Especially here in New England… in the winter, we have snow, sleet, slush, freezing rain, and what I like to call “sno-cone material”… even the rate it comes down can be measured with terms like storm, blizzard, shower, and flurry… Really, it all means cold and yucky. And in the summer, of course, we have various other phrases for discussing heat and humidity – we even talk about real temperatures vs. what it “feels like”. There is no end to conversations that can be had on this one topic alone.
Some folks truly have a fascination with the topic and become amateur meteorologists. Heck, for a period of time, my husband was such a fan of the weather channel, he knew the names and history all of the weather reporters as if he knew them personally. Truly, there is no denying the adrenaline rush, mixed with excitement or possibly fear, in hearing about a storm brewing — as we all flock to check hourly radar maps to track progress and predictions, and tune in to weather reports to see if they’ve changed from 30 minutes ago.
I think when it comes down to it, we average Real Women care about the weather for four primary reasons, or as I’ll call them the 4 S’s: safety, social, schedule and style.
- “Is it safe to venture out, or should I stay home?”
- “Is my picnic going to be rained out? Do I need to have a back-up plan so my party isn’t a complete bust?”
- “Do I need to re-schedule my meetings? Is my son’s school going to be cancelled?”
- And the most personal and vain reason, the last S: “How humid is it going to be out – will I have a frizzy hair day? Is it warm enough to go without nylons? Do I have to wear my ugly snow boots with this skirt?”
Perhaps at the core of the matter is the fact that of all the things in our lives we like to control, weather is one of the few we have absolutely no control over. Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen, no matter how we arm ourselves with umbrellas, shovels, bottled water and fans, and how often we watch the forecasts on tv. No matter our social status, our wealth, our knowledge or our beliefs, we are at its mercy.
Pretty fascinating, isn’t it?