The Null Device

The idea of weather

Yesterday was apparently the second hottest day on record in Melbourne (something like 44 degrees, which is about 15 more than reasonable). One of those days when you realise that weather is an integral part of the human condition, and not just some trivial fact. It's being too bloody hot is every bit as real and significant as awareness of one's mortality, longing for spiritual transcendence, love, or any other yardstick one may define "being human" by. Which makes one wonder why it's only times when it's too bloody hot (or too bloody cold or too rainy or something) that people notice this fact, and usually write off weather as an inconsequential truism.

I heard today from a former Norwegian exchange student living in Australia that the weather features quite heavily in Norwegian literature, presumably because they have so much of it. For example, one novel published recently over there deals with a prolonged period of intense rain, during which everybody retreated to their homes and got really deeply into various interests and solitary activities; or something much to that effect.

Meanwhile, in English, weather is usually seen as a cliché; i.e., "nice weather we having" being the standard content-free conversation starter; a linguistic no-op, to all intents and purposes.

There are 1 comments on "The idea of weather":

Posted by: Hobbes http:// Sat Jan 25 20:23:24 2003

Unless it is brutally hot or cold, we have houses and warm clothes that turn the weather into something that can be experienced at our leisure, rather than something we have to deal with every day.

Still, it is something of a universal experience, which is precicely why it is such a common bit of conversational white noise. You never run the risk of commenting on the weather and having someone not know what you are talking about.

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