With the exception of yesterday's torrential downpour that occurred late in the evening and temporarily turned Federal Boulevard into a river, I have yet to have seen a weather pattern over the last few weeks that was worth talking about. Yet, in this fourth week of May, as pools stay closed and barbecue plans are repeatedly hampered, the conversation around what in the hell is going on with Colorado's weather has dominated many online and in-person conversations. Not that any of us are meteorologists; in fact, no one I know has taken the time to Google or check the Farmer's Almanac to see where this year ranks in rainfall compared to other years. Instead, we're either crying about it or championing it because like any subject matter in the age of Internet opinions, we have managed to polarize something as trivial as rainfall.
Weather has always been a topic for the topic-less — it's what we end up talking to our mailman about, or the person working at 7-Eleven or the receptionist at our dentist's office when we have nothing else to say to a stranger. So when something so innocuous becomes a matter worth fighting over on social networks, you know it's bad. Over the last few weeks, my Facebook newsfeed has become a competition between the rain whiners and the pro-weather blowhards. Pathetic selfies capturing the few moments of sun each day with a caption like "Colorado, I miss the real you" or snapshots next to a soaking window pane with a sad face emoji are posted between ill-intentioned status updates that read "Buck up, you losers! It's raining. So what. Get over it!" It's like all of a sudden my friends want to passive-aggressively fight over one of the most inane conversation topics in the history of casual chit-chat.
I can't say this is limited to Colorado and it's fickle residents; I was in Phoenix last week during what was apparently some very mild weather for a time of the year when it usually unbearably stinking hot already. In the four glorious days I spent swimming and lounging outdoors with my boyfriend's family, the exchanges about the weather were constant. It was just like being in Colorado — except 100 percent of the time the sentiment was positive. It was unseasonably cool — by Arizona standards — and everyone was loving it. Still, it was a conversation I had over and over and over again that always went something like, "You picked a great time to visit! Usually it's disgustingly hot by now, but lucky for you, it's not!" I didn't have the heart say it was not my planning that brought me there at all — my almost-father-in-law is a real Clark Griswold and meticulously plans these outings for us, picking the times, dates and places to go. I was essentially enjoying this weather by accident.
The only comment I heard resembling a complaint from some desert area residents was that they usually only get into a swimming pool if the temperature outside is at least 80 degrees — and I was thinking, oh good god. Don't come to Colorado, then. We're used to jumping in the pool when it's 60 degrees outside in an effort to stay warm. Once you get wet and exit a body of water and foolishly stand in the shade on a regular Colorado summer day, you'll be freezing your ass off. We could only be so lucky to have so many hot days. But then again, it's one of the things that makes the geographical majority of this fair square state so fantastic — we aren't the desert.
Don't get me wrong; this rain bullshit sucks. When I'm not penning these stories perched atop a featherbed inside my writer's boudoir where the coffee flows like a garden hose, I'm not-so-glamorously walking dogs to make rent. The rain has made this second income very un-fun. Also, my beloved Water World had to delay its 2015 summer season opening. Even dangling a toe into any outdoor pool in general has not happened yet this year. Part of the reason we who live in Colorado — or moved here as fast as we could — love this place is because the weather is usually great! "300 Days of sunshine" is no lie. We may not have an ocean, but we've got everything else you could ever want in a pleasant climate.
With more rainy days predicted and the further possibility of summer plans being hindered, I challenge you to do something simple: stop talking about the weather. Stop complaining about the weather on Facebook and stop making small talk with everyone about how much you wish the weather was doing something more to your liking. (Or, if you're a pro-rain braggart, take it easy on the rest of us. If you dig the Pacific Northwest vibe, cool. Move there.) When you get the urge to talk about what the sky looks like, talk about music or food or art instead. Talk about yourself or talk about your pets. Talk about what movie you saw last or where you're going on vacation — just don't talk about the weather. We're all experiencing it and we all have feelings about it. And as I learned on my vacation to Arizona last week, a simple conversation about the weather can turn into quickly and a very uncomfortably into a debate over whether climate change is real or not. And nothing sucks the fun out of summer vacation quite like the unearthing of a climate change denier.
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