Its snowing here but just barely. But this is Cincinnati and people tend to turn the snow into something of an event.
I used think it was a sign of how boring your life is, if you must make normal weather into a exaggerated danger zone. People need to jazz up their lives with the perception of danger, so they worry themselves into a frenzy about driving conditions and getting groceries. They swap stories about their harrowing drive into work and the possibility that they might be “stuck” at work. It makes a boring life seem more exciting, without actually having anything seriously dangerous going on.
Recently I’ve been wondering if making snow into a dangerous event is about a need for self aggrandizement. Because our evolutionary drive to prove ourselves genetically worthy is so rarely given an opportunity to shine.
Some of us announce our fear of driving in these elements, while their very presence at work is proof that they are made up of tough enough stuff to overcome that fear. (The fear proves the danger. Overcoming if proves our bravery.)
Other people discuss how entirely impervious they are to it all. They aren’t afraid of driving in the weather. They tell you with disdain how annoying all the people driving with caution are by getting in their way. They have proven their evolutionary superiority by driving fast and dangerously. But since only strangers witnessed it, they must be sure to tell us about it when they arrive.
Then there is the group of people who have lived in far worse climates. They are from Buffalo, or Chicago, or somewhere similar. They have the superior attitude of a New Yorker over a small town hick wandering the city. How silly of us to lament such trivial weather, they say, usually siting the far worse conditions in their previous home, which the locals never so much as notice. Completely unaware that their very attitude is the flip side of the coin of proclaiming their own evolutionary superiority.
Not, of course, that anyone thinks of their conversations as a way to promoting the genetic suitability.
Its really quite odd when you think about it. I find people on all sides annoying. I really can’t imagine the need to discuss the snow and our ability or inability to deal with it, ad nauseum. I used to do it because it seemed normal to discuss the weather when people brought it up. And it is rude not to respond.
Now, I avoid and ignore those conversations because all I can do is be annoyed by silliness of it all. And then I wonder if my own sense of superiority over their silliness is somehow related to to my own desire to show genetic worthiness too. GAH!
I accepted a long time ago that 99% of life is going to be boring conversation. That’s fine with me.
The problem is when there’s no possibility of anything else. On the ride back from the airport coming back from the conference (where I presented on Plato’s Minos), everyone talked sports non-stop and completely ignored me. I have no problem being ignored. But this wasn’t intelligent conversation about sports - not in the least - and it went on for an hour. Just bad, gossipy anecdotes reinforced by bad observations to kill time. And there was definitely primitive one-upsmanship of the “I know people you don’t variety.”