[ The following is a column I wrote for The Eclectic Observer, just in time for winter. I will try to periodically introduce my back-catalog of columns as this blog continues. Nostalgia, you know. ]
One of my jobs it at a certain fast food restaurant where social interaction is an essential skill in how I do my job. One of those types of interaction is something called “small talk”. That’s something I’ve become quite good at. Ask a stranger how he/she is doing and you’ll often receive simply a “fine” or “good.” Asking “So where do you work?” does slightly better, often granting you insights into the universal feelings of stress and exhaustion. Perhaps the most effective form of small talk is making a comment such as “Brr… it’s cold outside, isn’t it?”
I never understood why talking about the weather is such a popular topic, until now.
Visit the campus of Elmore County High School on any given school day for the last three months between 7:10 and 7:45 and you’ll notice some things. First, you’ll notice that the school dress code is at no risk of being violated, as jackets and sweaters of varying types clothe every student. You’ll see groups of friends huddled together for warmth, having separate conversations more than likely based on the current temperature. Listen closely, and an exclamation, “It’s cold!” will occasionally fill your ears.
As frustrating as this kind of weather is, however, some activities seem almost perfect for temperature at hand. Shopping malls are fun, eventful, and perhaps most importantly, warm. Movies are an excellent form of entertainment, whether in theaters or curled up under a blanket at home. Consider coffee shops; my girlfriend and I have, in fact, gone to Starbucks several times this winter.
If hanging out with friends are more your thing, consider getting a few of them together to play Apples to Apples, Clue, cards, or another fun group game. Try cooking, either by yourself or with someone special to you. Of course, you could always simply grab a nice, sizable book, and read.
Find ways to occupy yourself, and the cold weather won’t seem so bad. At least until you try to drive in it.