Words by Thor Magnus Tangerås
Illustration by Peter Jellitsh
The only thing worth talking about is the weather. A lot of people don't seem to realize this. They simply look down their noses on weather-talk, giving it a bad rap, labelling it trivial, impersonal, boring, or even worse: uncool; knowing full well that the weather is not in a position to defend itself. They prefer to talk about other matters: avant garde art, politics, feelings, the social construction of love—anything about which they can vociferously offer their precious, half-baked, derivative opinions.
They say that people only talk about the weather when they have nothing else to talk about. But: it’s only when people don't know what to say to each other that true communication can take place. If we know what to say to each other, then what is the point of saying it? We may as well keep our mouths shut, or better: constantly half-open, like the half-wits we half-unwittingly are. The heart of communication can only be found in the acknowledging and overcoming of differences. And the art of communication is about minding the gap: bridging the gap between people and filling the gaps between ears. Everyone knows that, so it was pointless for me to say it. Which only proves my point.
Only uninteresting people say that people only talk about the weather when they have nothing else to talk about. Uninteresting people think they need to have something interesting to talk about. That is why they are uninteresting. Uninteresting people compete to find the most interesting things to say. Why do they do this? Perhaps because they do not listen. They think it’s more important to be interesting than interested. So in case you’re an interesting person who don´t think the only thing worth talking about is the weather, I probably ought to convince you of the importance of talking about the weather.
The weather is a potential agent for peace. It isn't love or the bomb that brings people together. It's the weather. No one breaks up a relationship or goes to war over disagreements about the weather. Even if I think those clouds over there mean it´s going to rain later, and you think they will soon disperse, leaving us with long sunny spells for most of the afternoon, we can easily live with that difference. Any talk of rain, hail, sleet or snow will be taken as a friendly invitation, an acknowledgment of my status as a fellow human being. So if everyone would kindly just restrict their conversation to talk about the weather, we would soon have peace. And we would still be able to make sexual innuendoes or slag off the government, only we would couch our statements in meteorological metaphors. It would encourage us to be more creative in our use of language.
Another great thing about the weather is that it could potentially stave off global warming. An interesting person might object: But the weather is only an effect of global warming. Well, consider this, if you’re interested: The weather is lonely, as lonely as a cloud. The weather only has fair-weather friends. We only like it when it’s nice. The weather is neither good nor bad, yet clouded thinking makes it so. Thus, when the interesting people think the weather is bad, they will hurry even more than usual, huddled against the cold sleet, protecting themselves from sensing the flaky wetness of the frozen drops. As if the weather would stay like that forever.
We do not relax and feel the snowflakes land on our lips. Always rushing ahead, always resisting what we think we cannot sustain, we are never where we ought to be: near and now. The weather can be defined as ‘the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place.’ My particular time and place right now is wintertime in Norway. The state of the air is cold, but the atmosphere is good. Because, contrary to what most people think, the Norwegian winter is warm. Coldness is not a matter of temperature, it is about a somatic and psychological state resulting from a lack of winter-mindedness, of being unprepared for the winter. Listen, the snow is falling.
Paradoxically, our failure to be present to our own experience is what has created the bleak future prospects for humanity. If we began truly accepting and noticing that which is closest to our skin, the weather, then soon we would notice other things too, like the precarious state of the earth and its atmosphere at a particular time and place: everywhere and always. Listen to the weather, while we still have it.