Archived Story

Much ado about the weather

Published 11:07am Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oscar Wilde once said, “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
But if there is one thing I’ve learned about the South, it’s that people love to talk about the weather.
It doesn’t matter if it’s swelteringly hot, bone-chilling cold (for Alabama, anyway), raining, sleeting, or sunny and beautiful – someone is going to mention the weather.
And I hate to contradict Mr. Wilde, but to me, it’s not an unimaginative conversation – people talk about it because they are genuinely interested in our surroundings.
If anything, people take a genuine interest in Alabama weather because it’s just plain weird sometimes.
Take all of August, for instance – I don’t know that we had a single day without rain. And this wasn’t just the normal “summer storm” type of rain we might see in the afternoons following a swelteringly hot midday – this was rain that seemed like it fell all day, every day.
Understandably, this was the subject of intense conversation, perhaps because our area had suffered from drought conditions for several years.
Just in August, some parts of Alabama saw more than 14 inches of rain. In Tallapoosa County, we saw between 5.25 and 7 inches near the southern part of the county, and Alexander City saw around 3 inches.
Countless times, we had customers walk into our office, shoulders and head soaked with the downpour. Those more prepared customers came in with umbrellas, raincoats or even plastic bags over their heads.
And almost every one of them would say something along the lines of, “Boy, it’s raining cats and dogs out there!”
It always initiated conversation with other customers or our employees, sharing their own weather stories from recent weeks.
And even in the face of dismal weather, I learned one more thing that I love about the South – that no matter what walk of life you may come from, the weather is something we all have in common.
And we can joke, listen and sympathize with any person’s weather experiences, simply because our folks are generally friendly.
To paraphrase another quote, no matter the weather, Southerners just bring their own sunshine.
Spears is general manager for The Outlook.

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