An Open Letter to the 27th Person to Talk to Me About the Weather Today

Dear [redacted],

Yes, it is weird that we’re getting snow at this time of year. I couldn’t agree more. Yes, I too was hoping to enjoy some warm weather this weekend. I’m sorry to hear about what the frost will do to the garden you just planted. I’m sorry your hiking plans are shot. I’m sorry for everything.

But can I ask you something? Do you honestly believe that you’re the first person today to point out to me how crazy the weather is? I realise that small talk is repetitive by its very nature, and that there are only so many topics one can safely discuss with a casual acquaintance. But in the past 24 hours more people have told me that they can’t believe our city’s weather than people have told me they love me in my entire life. I assume your experience is similar. So how could you, at the late hour at which we spoke, believe that you were the first person to share this thought with me? How could you think that until that moment I was ignorant as to the state of the weather, that I would be more likely to perform a rain dance for the gods than check a weather report? Don’t be disingenuous. You are wiser than that.

Aren’t you sick of it, too? Aren’t you tired of making the same banal observations, faking the same shock at late snow coming to a city that always gets late snow, a city you’ve lived in for your entire life? Don’t you want to just scream at the thought of having to agree that yes, you too are tired of the cold? When we talk about the weather it’s as though we are two amnesiacs teaching each other about the world we live in. But it is a charade, and you know that as well as I. Our act fools no man, lest of all ourselves. To pretend otherwise is to deny reality, to deny reason. It is an affront to our intelligence, our humanity.

Wouldn’t you rather talk about something else? Anything else? Wouldn’t you like to tell me about your hopes and dreams, your goals in life? Tell me why you think the latest popular movie is overrated. Share your thoughts on the designated hitter rule. Give your opinion of Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett, of Kim Kardashian and Kayne West. Speak to me of your greatest fears, the terrors that cause you to wake in the dead of night in a cold sweat. Or speak of the little doubts that gnaw away at your soul, keeping you awake in the early hours, wondering if your life has all gone terribly wrong.

We can do more than talk small, you and I. We can converse! We can turn the elevator into a parlour, the bus stop into a salon. We can take one of the many drudgeries of our daily lives and elevate it to a higher plane, transform it into a chance to broaden our minds and enrich our lives. We can learn, about each other and ourselves. We can live!

Let us never discuss the weather again, my friend. Until a hurricane comes to our door or the very ground itself shakes, let us not offer comment on the triviality that we both know the weather is. Let us discuss the subjects we want, let us say what we want, and damn the society that frowns on our breach of small talk etiquette. Let us tear down the rules that hold our tongues, and build anew a greater law!

Because if I hear one more person tell me that they can’t believe it’s going to snow tomorrow, “but that’s just our weird Canadian weather for you!” I will coldcock them right in the fucking face. I don’t want that person to be you, friend.

Sincerely,
-Mark

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