Archived Story

Weather is to blame for just about everything

Published 7:31pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pass the Hot Dish by Alexandra Kloster

My hair is going gray. I blame the humidity.

I blame the weather for pretty much everything. Come autumn I’ll wake up with a nosebleed. “I blame the dryness,” I’ll tell my husband, Graham, with toilet paper sticking out of my nose. A couple of months later I’ll have gained five pounds. “I blame the cold,” I’ll say with a mouthful of doughnut. At some point I’ll blame the barometer because it’s always ready to play the fall guy.

Not since cellulite have humans spent more time complaining about and trying to control an uncontrollable force. We want to be the meteorologists of our own destiny. We wait for that perfect day, not too hot, not too cold, sunny but not so bright you have to squint, breezy not windy, neither damp nor dry, just right. When it comes to weather we are all Goldilocks.

Our downfall was central heating and air conditioning. It made us choosy and arrogant. If we couldn’t control the outside, by the crown of Mother Nature, we’d take our fight indoors.

To really understand our relationship with weather we have to go back to the woman who discovered fire. She was searching for an answer to that timeless philosophical riddle, “How can I make it cozier in here?”

She knew that a warm glow would make cave walls more welcoming and that the temperature should be warm enough for comfort but not so warm that she couldn’t curl up in her woolly mammoth skin at night.

Little did that first domestic goddess realize she would evolve into the girl who drove a convertible with the air conditioner on and the top down in the summer and the heat on with the top down in the fall. I am that girl. Finally one day in September, the kind of day that vacillates seasonally every 10 minutes, my car died of irony. It was done.

Here in the Midwest we revel in that weather phenomenon known as competitive cold. “It’s only 10 below there? That’s nothing!” If we’re going to have bad weather, we’re going to have better bad weather than you. Our bad weather is going to be the best worst weather in the country. The grass is always greener five states over because they don’t get frost in June. We do.

“How’s the weather out there?”

“So cold I can’t touch my car door.”

“Don’t complain. It’s so cold here my car won’t start.”

“Well, you may get the cold, but we get the snow.”

“Keep your snow. You couldn’t take this cold.”

Arizona seems to have the perfect climate. I wonder if even they fall prey to weather rivalry.

“It’s so hot.”

“It’s hot all over. Did you see the temperature in Florida?”

“Yes, but that’s not so bad. It’s a wet heat you know.”

Never have I known someone more concerned with weather than my mother. The first time I talked to her after having the twins she asked, “What’s your weather doing?

In the morning she has the fireplace roaring. Around noon the air conditioning purrs to life, but an hour later she’ll wrap a sweater around herself, peer at the thermostat and ask, “Why does it have to be so cold in here?” That’s the furnace’s cue to take over.

Growing up I didn’t learn about stranger danger or waiting 20 minutes after eating to swim. I learned to bring a jacket with me on the hottest day of the year. If I was outside and saw a cloud, run for it! That cloud was coming for me. When I got older I learned that you never went away for the weekend without consulting the 10-day forecast.

The Weather Channel was the single greatest thing to ever happen to my mother.

I guess we’re all a little obsessed with the weather. Right now I am upstairs. Graham is downstairs. We’re both listening to the forecast for the weekend. There is something special brewing. At last, the elusive meteorological balance is upon us.

“I love it,” I yell down.

“Got to get those long summer days with early fall temps,” he yells back.

“It’s perfect!” we yell in unison.

The weather: confusing, delighting, punishing, frustrating, rewarding and giving strangers something to talk about since forever.

 

Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at alikloster@yahoo.com, and her blog is at alexandrakloster.com.