Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Complaining About the Weather

Why do people complain about the weather? Or even talk about it as much as we all do? I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that the weather is so completely out of our control. We talk about it as if doing so compensated for its hegemonic power over us (so contrary to our contemporary culture of autonomy and choice). And we complain about it because it's so safe to do so. The weather is nobody's fault, after all. Still, it can get a bit tiresome, especially when it plays to some semi-official elite consensus about how we should feel about the weather.
Lately, I have been hearing lots and lots of complaining about the winter weather. To which, my instinctive response (albeit often unexpressed) is that, well, it is winter. and, if you don't like winter, well, spring will be here soon. That's what seasons do. They come and go, more or less in order and on schedule.
Of course, when I examine my conscience, then I too must admit to being guilty of the same offense - every summer. By the beginning of September, if not before, I am invariably so sick, tired, and fed-up with hot weather, and I am ready to say so to anyone who will listen. So I am certainly no better than those who get on my nerves for complaining there has been too much snow or that it has been too cold!
To be fair, there has been a lot of snow this year, which has caused considerable inconvenience - the more so to the extent that our society likes to operate on the assumption that nature doesn't exist or at least has no impact on our lives and so can't quite grasp the concept that winter is not really the right season to be doing a lot of travelling. And kids really do belong in school, and they have had far too much time off from school for their own - and society's - good. But these are the difficulties that naturally accompany weather. Every season has its inconveniences. For example, my first spring in Knoxville was significantly complicated by some serious hail storms that damaged the church's roof, not to mention my car, and that caused the cancellation of a day-long staff planning meeting, and also forced me to spend a night sleeping on the floor at Dulles Airport!

The remedy? There is none. Extreme weather (exacerbated and increased by climate change) is here to stay. The seasons will continue to come and go in order, each with its own challenges and inconveniences. And, of course, we will all continue to complain!

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