Talking About the Weather

I am going to talk about the weather. I am likely in bed at the moment. I say likely because I am writing this in your past in order to discuss my future. I received my second dose of the COVID vaccine yesterday (your time) and if my experience is anything like Kelly’s was yesterday, I am likely going to be here much of the day. I am, therefore, going to talk about the weather. I will have more to say on the second dose in Sunday’s post.

There are great weather talkers and there are those who could care less. My friend Eric is a great weather talker. I don’t mind talking about the weather, but I don’t like talking about it as much as I used to. I liked it best back when I was learning about weather in flight school. Pilots like to complicate things that should be simple. Instead of a simple, “Clear skies, light winds out of the west, temperature 70 F, barometer 29.95” they have a cryptic way of reporting the conditions. Here is the current weather for nearby Reagan/National airport in this cryptic form: KDCA 162352Z 28011G21KT 10SM FEW065 12/00 A2981 RMK AO2 PK WND 28027/2341 SLP094 T01220000 10167 20122 53020

Some people like watching the weather on TV. There are TV weather reports. Weather apps have made these reports seem excessive. Why listen to someone drone on about the weather when you can see at a glance exactly what the weather will be for the next 24 hours with usable accuracy? My dad likes to watch the Weather Channel. The day we got an entire channel dedicated to nothing but the weather is the day we became a truly decadent society.

I find the weather reports surrounding hurricanes particularly ironic. One the one hand, you’ve got your anchors telling people, “Evacuations are now mandatory. Now over to you, Fred.” Fred, of course, is the weatherman who is reporting live from the belly of the beast. He is the old man, “going opposite to the flow,” as Irving Berlin might say. It is always a bit confusing. They are telling people to flee, and here is someone doing the opposite, doing essentially what a satellite might do without putting anyone in danger.

On the wall just inside the sliding glass door that leads to the deck, I’ve got a nice analog weather station that gives me temperature, pressure, and humidity. Those three readings, combined with what I see outside is really all I need to know about the weather.

Of course, I have a weather app on my phone, but I much prefer the little command line script I have. I type “weather” and it gives me a simple, one line report. I typed it just now, for instance, and here is what it said:

⛅️ +54°F →13mph

If only the TV weather reporters could be so brief.

I don’t mind the weather report at the back of the Metro section. It is usually concise. And Martin Weil’s short write-ups on local weather in the Washington Post always amuse me.

I decided to write about the weather is because I am feeling under the weather. I was curious about that idiom. It apparent comes from mariners on old sailing vessels. When a sailor wasn’t feeling well, there were taking below deck to protect them from the weather. Depending on where I ended up, I could very well be below deck (downstairs, in the guest room). At the very least, I am below blanket, which for our purposes here is equivalent to below deck.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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