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Weather is one of life's common threads that every human being experiences in one way or another

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jason ChaneyMaybe it's time we talk about the weather. Is it hot, is it cold? Will it rain or will it snow? It sure is cloudy and good grief it's windy out there.

Weather is one of life's common threads that every human being experiences in one way or another. It's that one thing that everyone can talk about – not everyone likes to talk about sports, some prefer not to discuss politics, but weather? That's the low-hanging fruit of the conversation world. Anyone can talk about the weather.

Not only that, it allows us to tap into the core traits of our unique personalities. Maybe you're a pessimist – "Man, this heat is just awful." Or you might be bursting with optimism – "Isn't it just a lovely, sunny day?" Perhaps you are a cynic – "Why bother planning anything? It's just gonna rain again anyway."

Weather really has something for everyone, doesn't it? If you like it hot, there are places where temperatures soar, plants die, and people sweat through the night. Or if you need to cool off, there are places where snow rarely melts, and winds pierce your nerves like icy daggers. We have dry climates, wet climates and in Central Oregon — lucky us! — there are days where you can experience all of the above in a matter of a few hours.

Us humans go to great lengths to deal with the weather. Homes are built with heating systems, in case it gets too cold, and air conditioning systems for when it's too hot. There's umbrellas for when it rains and big bulky boots for when the snow flies. There is an entire arm of the news devoted to weather forecasts — heck, there's even a TV channel committed exclusively to weather, and it airs 24/7.

And what do they do on the news programs and The Weather Channel? They make predictions. What a job that must be. I understand that weather prognosticators are in reality meteorologists with years of scientific training using hi-tech devices and satellites orbiting the earth — but they are still in the business of predicting the future, which is never 100% certain.

And, what's truly remarkable is that they provide forecasts within a range of a few degrees. They not only predict that it will eventually rain, they tell you what hour to expect it. They don't just tell you it will be windy, they let you know how hard the wind will be blowing and from which direction. They don't just say, "Hey, y'all, it's gonna snow!" — they tell you how deep it will get.

These guys are doing amazing work, which is why I am so glad they are treated with such reverence — "Stupid weatherman really got it wrong this time! What an idiot!"

But so what if the weatherman misses the forecast by a few degrees or forecasts sunny skies before a rainstorm hits. We're ready for it, aren't we? We can adapt. It's quite simple — if it rains, wear some rain gear or a rubber hat. If it snows, bring your boots and gloves. If it gets too cold, layer up — no matter how cold it gets, you can always add more. And as it gets hotter, you can always remove garments and — hmmm, well maybe we aren't prepared for EVERY change in the weather … at least until public decency laws change.

And then there are those weather events that no one can adapt to — destructive forces of nature like hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and thunderstorms. Such extremes in weather become moments in history, alter the landscape and sometimes inspire movies with implausible plots — anyone watched "Twister" lately?

So, you see, weather is that wonderful common ground on which we all can gather. We all experience it, and we all have our thoughts on it. If we should bump into each other someday, there will be no need for clunky introductions and awkward small talk. We'll know what to do. We can talk about the weather.


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