The Least Wonderful Time of Year

Greg Behrens

gregular thoughts

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is quickly fading into distant memory. You’ve returned all those terrible sweaters you pretended to think were great on Christmas morning. The tree you took the time to painstakingly adorn with shiny baubles, shimmering lights, and pretty ribbons has been once again placed in its moldy box in the attic, or perhaps thrown hastily over the fence in your backyard (it’s the Honda dealership behind your house’s problem now). All that’s left after the joys of the holidays have suddenly split, is the bitter realization that it’s still gonna be winter for the next three months, so get ready to hear about it.

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People just love to yakkity yak about the weather. Typically, it’s the simplest way to break the ice and engage someone in a conversation. “Looks like rain” and “hot enough for ya?” are very common openers whether you’re chatting up that sweet biker chick you’re trying to bone from the snack bar at the bowling alley, or even that lady from the Home Depot lawn and garden department that you’re pretty sure might have been a guy because she knew a little too much about lawn mower engines, but you’d still like to find out for sure. It’s an easy topic, that anyone can get onboard with, for all occasions, but the winter time seems to typically provide the most interesting of these chats.

This new year has started off with some severe chills, and whether you refer to it as the Polar Vortex, Snowpocalypse, or Snowmaggedon, rest assured, you sound like a real dickhead. And before you get Flakey, and be all like, “Takes one to snow one,” remember I don’t mean anything by it, I have no filter . . . I’ve got Icebergers. Sorry, that was the last one . . . Ice where. My point is that no matter what you say about the weather, it always sounds ridiculous, because it’s right in front of everyone. It’s the only topic of conversation that is more pointless to talk about than politics, and you are never providing people with any useful information. People don’t look out their windows wondering, “Oh my, what is this strange liquid falling from the sky?” until a coworker comes along and says, “Hey, it’s raining out.” People can figure it out on their own, and they don’t need your commentary.

Say by some weird coincidence there was this guy who was born and raised in a cave and was never once allowed to step foot outside until adulthood. The cave would have to be in the middle of a city park, in a densely populated urban sprawl, where he was extremely close to civilized society but he never had any clue, like in the movie The Village. He finally reaches whatever age he needs to be to earn his rite of passage to venture out of the subterranean womb he’s grown so accustomed to. On that fateful afternoon at the exact moment that he steps into the open air for the very first time, a jogger passing through the park, has stopped for one brief moment near the mouth of the cavern to lace up his left New Balance running shoe, you know, the one that always comes undone? The jogger stands back up from his crouched position to continue on with his run, when he looks over, and notices a disheveled man, dressed only in a loincloth, emerging from that weird cave in the park that he passes by every day on his morning jog. Noticing the man is hardly clothed he offers up the advice, “Might wanna throw on somethin’ a tad warmer, supposed to cool off tonight, we might even see some snow.” That is the only instance that it is ever okay, ever, to talk to a stranger about the weather.

It will never change, but it’s always been one of the things that irks me about humanity. I can’t stand the idea that people are so in need of human contact that they will point out the obvious just to make a connection with someone. That being said I just wasted a lot of time talking about the weather myself right here. But hey, I gotta do something to pass the time, I’m waiting for someone to stop by and let me know if it’s nighttime yet.

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