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Canadians love to talk about the weather. It the official small talk standing in line at the cash register, in the elevator or in the office. It is such a habit that most people cannot help it, but do it automatically without thinking. So, what can one learn listening to all this weather talk?

What is the weather like?

What is the weather like?

Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to the types of comments made. I realized that it is possible to learn about people based on their remarks. For example, an elderly woman complains to me endlessly every time I meet her. If the sun is out, it is too hot. It is possible to get sunburn and get sick. If it is cloudy, the rain may arrive any time and she may get soaked. If it is windy, her expensive hairdo may get ruined. Whatever the weather is, she always has some negative comments.   Nothing can make her happy. She is the official complainer of the universe, ready to whine at any time. Another middle aged man, I know, can only be happy if the weather is perfect. In his case, it means that the weather has to be cool, slightly cloudy with not humidity. He is unhappy about 90% of the time and smiling in about 10% of the time. He is the official perfectionist in this life. One of my acquaintances, a middle aged man, is always happy. If it is sunny, he is happy about the sunshine. If it rains, he is happy that the flowers can drink and become beautiful. If it is cloudy, he finds the puffy clouds spectacular enough to take pictures of them. In short, he thinks that any weather is great. He is the official happy man. In summary, I determined that the types of comments people make about the weather say a lot about them.

Why is this important? It can influence a person’s life. For example, a smart interviewer can use this type of small talk to learn about a candidate’s personality at a job interview. The interviewer can begin by stating a fact about the weather. For instance, she can state, “It is raining outside,” and then wait for a response from the candidate. What is the person’s response? Depending on the person, it can vary. It is absolutely terrible! It is nasty outside! I guess, the air is fresh outside! It is good for the farmer’s land! I love the rain! The point is that the interviewer can learn a lot about the person before the interview even begins.

A person’s attitude can also influence his or her creative writing. The official complainer will probably make the weather a nuisance that a character constantly has to deal with. The perfectionist will probably choose perfect weather when a character is happy and imperfect weather when he is challenged or sad. This means that the lovers realize that they are in love with rain pouring down on a summer night. I guess that the perfectionist most probably loves clichés. The happy writer will probably choose a variety of weather for the character to deal with or ignore the weather question altogether. After all, he is always upbeat, no matter what the weather is. Of course, an experienced and fully aware writer may take the created character’s personality into consideration. If one is less experienced and not as self-aware as he or she should be, however, it is possible to learn it. All the person has to do is watch an already created character’s environment to learn about him or herself. Hence, the weather talk is important.

So, what is the weather like outside?

M. J. Mandoki