How I REALLY Became an Adult

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Oh, look. Weather.

Yesterday I tweeted (okay, no grown person should ever have to use the phrase “I tweeted”) this: “No summer in San Diego this year. Already much colder than usual. Anticipating snowmen and dissociative disorder.”

Ah, Tweeting. It’s like the … hyper-nervous twitch of writing.

It should be called twitching.

What was I talking about before my twitchy-tweetery brain kicked in?

Oh right. The weather.

As a kid I knew I had a very great deal to learn about the myriad weirdo ways of adults. But of all the things about adults that for the life of me I simply could not fathom—the way they dressed, how they could stand to watch televised news without croaking from boredom, why they so rarely laughed, etc.—the thing I most couldn’t understand was how they could possibly spend so much of their time talking about the freakin’ weather.

Weather! You look outside (or—heaven forfend if you’re an adult—actually go outside)—and there it is. The weather. That’s it. That’s the weather. It’s over. You’ve seen it. What in the name of stale Cracker Jacks was there left to talk about?

At first, I thought adults were being majorly humorous when they talked with each other about the weather. I thought they were being funny about trying to be as boring as humans could possibly be.

One of them would sort of gaze around at the sky, and then say, “Seems to me it’s been getting a little cooler in the morning lately.”

And I’d just about fall to the floor laughing. “That guy’s nailing it,” I’d think. “You can’t get any more boring than that! Perfect!” Just cracked me up.

Then the other guy (ignoring me, as adults always seemed to, thank God) would go, “It has been getting cooler in the mornings. Do you know I heard it might rain sometime next week?”

And I’d be all “Stop it! Stop it! You’re killing me!” And I’d think those were two of the funniest people on earth.

As time went by, though, I began to understand that when adults talked with each other about the weather, they were being the opposite of funny. They were actually and truly talking about the weather.

As I grew older I came to understand much of the adult world: how to drive a car, why you had to have and keep a job, why getting an envelope in the mail with your name on it isn’t necessarily the most exciting development in the world. But the last thing about the adult world to make sense to me—the mystery that (as it turns out) lasted the longest—was how adults could so consistently consider the weather a topic worthy of conversation. All the other mysteries about adult life eventually settled into answers. But, weirdly, that one never did.

Until yesterday, that is.

It’s a whole new world for me now. For verily did I, about the weather, make a Tweet.

****

Come, let us bore ourselves together. Join my fan page.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://penelopepiscopal.blogspot.com Penny Nash

    Uh-oh. I feel a strange resonance. I was just outside wondering if it will ever cool off – another 90+ degree day here. So this cracked me up.

    This morning I was reading the journal that my great-great grandfather kept in the 1880s when he was in his 80s himself. Every day he wrote about the weather. Of course he was a farmer, too, and so even though he was not actively farming any more he still wrote about the weather every day in addition to what work was being done (by the younger folk) and who came to visit or from whom a letter arrived. The weather meant something, every day, about what work could be done or needed to be done or couldn't be done.

    So, I wonder if it's a holdover from our past that we (physically) tune in to the weather periodically. As if we are checking to see if our natural seasonal rhythms are in tune with the atmospheric seasonal rhythms. In other words, I wonder if its a holdover, a vestige even.

    Maybe tweeting is something we can do to counteract being boring, so that we can get together with other people and talk about tweets.

    Or not.

    Meanwhile, enjoy your cool weather. We're burning up down South.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow. What a terrific comment! Lovely. I wish I could read your great-grandfather's journal. It must be fascinating.

  • Robert Meek

    The truest mystery of life/weather/accurately predicted is The Farmers Almanac.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers'_Almana
    The Almanac Publishing Company claims readers of the Farmers’ Almanac have attributed an 80 to 85 percent accuracy rate to the publication’s annual forecasts.

    Predictions for each edition are made as far as two years in advance. The Farmers’ Almanac publishers are highly secretive about the method used to make its predictions, only stating publicly that it is a "top secret mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors." The identity of the Farmers’ Almanac weather forecaster is also a secret. The Almanac’s forecaster is referred to by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee.

    http://www.almanac.com/

  • Robert Meek

    OOPS that FIRST URL should be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers_almanac

  • Mindy

    I am and have always been a bit freaked out by that Farmer's Almanac. It is scarily correct, and I have never been given a satisfactory answer as to how that happens. I remain suspicious of it, while simultaneously in awe of its accuracy.

    Welcome to the adult world, Mr. Shore. Some days, it is exactly as boring as you suspected.

    Some days, it's pretty damned fun.

  • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

    My 30 yr old step son will love this post. Since he was 24 his wife has been telling him to "grow-up" in one way or another ( a pursuit I'm not sure a wife should demand or waste her energy over. )

    But his response has ALWAYS been to suddenly start talking about the weather!

    Thanks for the laugh. I should call Joelie and see how the weather is in Ladera, CA today.

    Or text him

    or FB him

    or twitter and see if he responds

  • Susan

    As a kid, I too considered weather talk flat, empty, and dull. But in recent years, it has come to seem more a simple acknowledgment of shared life on earth. It expresses a fundamental human fellow-feeling — sort of, "Here we are, together, in this place at this time experiencing the same conditions created by the planet."

    There will come a time for each of us when we won't be doing any of these things, when there will be no further sharing of life on earth, of weather. So I find it comforting on a rather basic, primal level.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Perfectly said. Me, too.

  • Tim

    Weather is something that everyone can weigh in on. As absolutely boring as the conversations are, they are better than a long awkward silences. All summer I've started conversations by saying, "when the hell is summer gettin' here?"

  • Karen

    LOL! I still find this phenomena rather perplexing… especially in California. My husband and father engage in deep discussions about the weather whenever they are together. How many variations of sunny and hot can we have? And then, when the weather does "turn" (a term I have yet to wrap my brain around… I mean does it turn bad like milk, or does it turn over like an infant who rolled over for the first time?) they run to the television to watch the weather channel to see "the eights" and declare, "I think its going to rain!" (Being the brat that I am, I look out the window and either agree or disagree depending on the cloud coverage.) And then, when it "turns" cold, they discuss for hours whether or not its going to snow. Anyhow, I too have engaged in weather conversations. It seems a subject that we can all relate to – a safe subject that doesn't hurt peoples feelings or step on toes or mess with sensibilities. Does that mean I'm grown-up?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Happily, I think it does.

  • textjunkie

    Having left southern California, I am beginning to understand why weather might be fascinating–the sunset lighting up the clouds alone can stop traffic around my neighborhood. But in southern California? Yeah, it's just a safe topic that no one is going to get too ticked off about (or a way to make people who don't live there, jealous).

    Loved the adult exchange, though–I totally remember feeling that way. ;)

  • http://teasuki.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I only started talking about the weather after I moved to Melbourne. Always something to talk about – sudden hailstones which caused billions in damage, sudden cold blitz, hot in the morning and then freezing-your-toes-off cold 2 minutes later (I am NOT exaggerating). Surely it MUST be discussed the next morning in the lift with your colleagues, surely! I know I certainly didn't talk much about the weather back home in Singapore, because even if we did, we complained about it with 1 consistent word – HOT. Wasn't much of a discussion really. Perhaps it really is a spillover of sorts from our ancestors. The Chinese did a lot of weather-reading / analysis over 5000 years for all purposes – from strategising for war (which they did most of the time), to farming (of course) and superstition (evil omens primarily). The weather binds us all together in some way as adults. It's a great topic for breaking up the ice with colleagues you don't really talk to often, but it would be rude if you just remained quiet too. I think it's a great topic to 'abuse'.

  • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

    I have to talk about the weather because I live in San Francisco and work in South bay. The fog! Then the heat! Then the wind! Then more fog! I need to plan my outfits for my physical survival.

    OK maybe that is a little dramatic.

    How do people talk about the weather in a primary climate like Hawaii?

    "Wow, sure is hot today."

    "Yes, it really is. A few degrees hotter than yesterday".

    "Well, it's going to be 81 degrees tomorrow instead of 82. Not that I need a jacket for that."

    "Yep. No jacket for that."

    "….."

    "Look at that dolphin!"

  • Chellee

    I don't actually have anything valid to add to your observations………

    just simply one of the cutest "weather" comments my cousin's little girl said often of Montana's winter storms:

    "It's a-rainin' and a-windin' and a-darkin' out there!"

    I have loved it and used it often since then.

    Does that mean I talk about the weather, too?? ;) lol

  • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

    I dunno, John – you're writing about becoming an adult and you tell us about tweeting.

    I'm not convinced… :)

  • Jeanine

    I have a neighbor in his 80's. Over the past 10 years, we have built and excellent friendship on the firm foundation of the changing weather. No matter what generation gap stands between us on issues of religion or politics; and no matter how foreign each of our daily lives are to the other; we always have the wind, rain, sun and snow to bring us together.

  • Stuart

    The fast rate at which John is clarifying all the world's mysteries is a bit disconcerting to me!

    Soon we will understand everything and then what?

    I also think it's better to talk about weather with people rather than buses, the conversation is just easier!

    Stuart

    • Matthew Tweedell

      "Soon we will understand everything and then what?"

      Then we will forget everything we understood.

      But it is a shame our Johnny's all grown up now!

      Anyhow, I actually feel more comfortable to be real with buses than with people. I can always just be myself around them… unless they're full of people. :oops:


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