I see by my weather app that it’s 34 degrees outside this morning. Yes, that’s right — 34 degrees on May 16. And by the way, it snowed in Cleveland yesterday. So much for my heartfelt attempt to precipitate the final, certain arrival of spring by declaring that spring had sprung already.
So today the good working stiffs of Columbus will bundle up in their winter gear and don their gloves, and when we get to the office we’ll talk about the weather. We’ll talk about how we had to scrape ice off the windshield, and how worried we are about damage to the delicate flowers and strawberries in the garden that we planted last weekend, and how we actually had to turn the heat on last night, can you believe it, and how this is the coldest spring we can remember. We’ll say it’s weird because it was a warmer than normal winter, so you’d expect a warmer spring, wouldn’t you? We’ll shake our heads and declare, isn’t it just ridiculous?
We like talking about the weather because it’s one common touchstone. We’ve all experienced it, and we can all express our dark, muttered views about it. And when the weather sucks, as it has in Columbus all spring, it’s even better. A pretty day or a basic summer thunderstorm might merit an offhand comment, but a spate of unusual weather, good or bad, can be sufficient to sustain a vigorous conversation among random co-workers for an entire long elevator ride. Hey, it beats an uncomfortable, eyes forward period of total elevator silence!
One other nice thing about weather as a topic: it’s safe. When you candidly state that you think overnight freezing temperatures on the 16th of May is unforgivable and that Mother Nature must have gone on a bender or lost a bet with Father Time, you’re not likely to encounter any indignant opposition. There aren’t any White Walkers out there ardently arguing that we should enjoy freezing temperatures all year long.
In fact, those of us in Columbus should be grateful for this ludicrously crappy spring. Otherwise, we might be talking about presidential politics.