Until Clea died, I had no understanding of the importance of talking about the weather. I knew there was some significance in talking about the weather when you were trying to avoid certain issues or topics but I didn’t understand the depth of people’s need to discuss the weather.
I did not realise how much weight people placed on a discussion of the weather. I had thought that the weather was an idle topic that people used to pass the time but I have since learned that it is not simply a topic to pass the time; it is a topic to avoid time.
I have daily conversations about the weather.
People call me from long distances to discuss the weather in Canberra. They call when they’re passing through Canberra to discuss the weather.
Maybe I have become a meteorologist without realising it? Am I a weather expert?
I used to sit there politely and listen to this surreal discussion about the weather. Is it sunny? “I’ve noticed on the news that is has been rather cold and frosty in Canberra”. Oh, really. Why are you telling me this? Here is the link to the weather in Canberra. You can look it up whenever you feel the need but you do not need to phone me to talk about the weather.
It is not only the weather. People will talk about anything rather than ask me how I am or mention Clea’s name. Absolutely anything. People ask me about my parents; although I rarely ask people about their parents. People ask me about my sons and even, about common friends and their children. Anything to avoid mentioning Clea or asking me how I am. Some people seem to have a list of people or issues to discuss with me so that they do not have to ask the obvious or talk about the obvious.
I had an old friend call me only last week to let me know that she had been thinking about me. She started with my sons, then my parents, then my brother, then my sisters (each one individually) and even one of my closest friends (who is a friend we have in common) as well as telling me about her sister and her son although I had not asked questions as I was waiting for her to ask me how I was. I really did not feel liking talking to this person.
I find their behaviour bizarre. What is more bizarre is that these people are not strangers, some of them are my immediate family and some are old friends. I do not remember having such in-depth discussions about the weather with these people before Clea’s death.
I have started to tell people that I am not interested in discussing the weather; and that my extended and immediate family are fine thank you very much. Some people think that I am being rude but I think that they are the ones who are being rude.
I have come to understand that I am a scary person and people fear asking me how I am – I may tell them the truth or I may just say I am ‘ok’. It depends how I feel.
How can you open up to people who insist on avoiding that which is most important to you? These people say that I am being difficult but I would rather they did not call as I have no interest in the weather.
And yes, it was frosty this morning but it is a nice sunny day in Canberra today.