The Weather

What is it with us Brits and our fascination with the weather?  Seriously, when we’ve got nothing to say to someone, or there’s an awkward silence, we feel compelled to get our meteorologist hats on and get involved in discussion about the latest chapter in the cumulonimbus story of life.

Example, I just went to the shop to buy some milk.  Now buying milk is a pretty straight forward transaction, there doesn’t need to be a large amount of dialogue with the shop assistant, the conversation could go like this:

Shop assistant: Hi
Bradfields: Hi, just this milk.
Shop assistant: £1.25 please

[Bradfields hands over money and receives change]

Bradfields: Thanks, see you later.
Shop assistant: Bye.

But instead, because I’m British, the conversation went like this.

Shop assistant: Hi
Bradfields: Hi.  What happened to the nice weather eh?
Shop assistant: Holiday weather!

[Bradfields and the shop assistant share a small chuckle over the irony of rain on a Bank Holiday weekend when it has been nice during the rest of the week]

Bradfields: Just this milk please.
Shop assistant: £1.25 please

[Bradfields hands over money and receives change]

Bradfields: Thanks, see you later.
Shop assistant: Bye.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like to have a bit of a chat with the people that serve me in shops.  I used to work in a shop and I know that if people treat you like a human being then it makes the job more enjoyable.  I also know that if you have the same conversation about the weather fifty times in a day then that becomes quite annoying.  So why the hell do I do it to people?

I could have asked the shop assistant about his plans for the weekend, asked him if he watched the football last night, perhaps discussed the recent city building developments or had a chin wag about Somalian pirates.  But no, my fine British upbringing means that the weather is the only topic of conversation for me.

I even ask questions about the weather when I know what the answer is going to be.  In the middle of August I’ll ask my colleagues in Mallorca “so what’s the weather like there today?”.  What the fuck do I expect them to say?  “There’s a blizzard here today, would you believe it!”  It has never been anything other than thirty degrees and clear blue skies in Mallorca in the middle of August so why do I have to ask that question?!?

Will this problem get worse with age?  That scares me.

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