I used to travel a lot for a job I used to have, like all over the country.
I was mostly doing work evaluating code and ADA compliance for CVS stores. It was boring work, and long days, but I got to travel to a ton of great cities and eat great food and drink great beer all on the company dime.
I worked mostly in Texas and Florida, but I hit almost every southern state and a lot of the plains states and even Wisconsin once. And one thing was true when I talked to people in every single one of those states. They said some version of “don’t like the weather, wait around 15 minutes”, something we often say in Michigan. The first time I heard someone mention it to me was in Pensacola, Florida. I thought to myself that well, Florida can be like that sometimes. It was just funny that the phrasing was so similar to a phrase so often said in Michigan that it feels like part of your DNA.
The next time I heard it, I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, maybe only two weeks later. I had been to Texas a little bit and never noticed a weather problem, but I had never been that close to the coast, or that close to the desert, so I really didn’t know what to think. And again it struck me by how similar the phrasing was, almost exactly the way we said it in Michigan.
I heard it literally just a few days later in Oklahoma City at the airport, and I just laughed to myself. I would go on to hear it at least 30 times in as many cities. I heard it every time I went to Dallas, which was very often, my most travelled to city. It was something that really struck me. I notice it a lot now on Facebook and Twitter. I have friends in Ohio, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California (north and south), Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, DC, Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. And practically every single one of them has posted something about the weather being unpredictable, with the exclusion of the SoCal people.
It’s clear that the issue really isn’t the weather, it is us. We think that the weather should be something that it isn’t. It sticks in our head, and becomes an appropriate thing to tell an outsider, and we believe this is unique to us, or our location. Probably neither are true, but I think it is an interesting phenomenon.
I think we, as humans, do this a lot. We fixate on something that probably isn’t even true. Maybe it happened to us once and we continue to give it credence, or we heard a story from a friend of a friend and it just fits so well into what we want to be true that we accept it as fact. I guess this is probably where grudges come from. It really makes me want to figure out what things do I do this for? What situation occurs to me, and uniquely me?
I know I used to feel like people argued with me because they wanted to challenge me and make me grow my opinions. It turns out I was just an opinionated asshole, and no one cared about my development. I used to think (and I think a lot of people have this thought) that my parents had a different set of rules for me and my sister. It turns out they were pretty consistent, and if they did change the rules it was to give me more leniency. I used to think that I was the only person that questioned faith and challenged religious ideas, but now I know practically everyone has, and the vast majority of my friends still do.
I used to think that I had something to say worth hearing. I think this is a big one for people. I think it is why Facebook and Twitter exist. I think it is why people write blogs and start podcasts. I think it is why we have a lot of problems in this world, like mass shootings, or violent political protests, or riots, because people believe they aren’t being heard when they feel that they should be.
I think my feeling has changed from voicing my opinions to be heard to voicing them to say something. I used to want to make sure people know what I felt about something, but now I just want to express it even if no one hears. It is a big change in ideology. It has allowed me to let go of a lot of anger. It has allowed me to engage a person and not care or try to direct the conversation. It has allowed me to listen better. It has allowed me to express myself better, oddly enough. It has probably been the greatest thing I have ever done for myself.
I guess I’ll never know what it is like to live in a place where the people believe the weather acts like it should. But I know that I can have more faith that how I am choosing to express myself is the best way I can.