I’m not sure who to blame here.
If we could personify small talk, we’d bring him into a room and say,
Listen, normally you and I are cool. Normally, I understand you and why you need to be here. Everyone’s his or her own, and you sort of exist out of necessity so there’s value in you, even if inevitable, but listen I need you to understand something right now. I know you and Weather have been buddies for a while and that Weather is practically your life blood. But understand something. Right now, you need to leave Weather alone, y’understand?
Weather is going through things right now and does not need to be discussed. There are sports, there’s Trump (especially this week), and there are several things you can buddy up with to continue talking, but in your small moments from now on moving forward, leave Weather out of it, okay?
We don’t need to hear it. Yes there is rain. Yes it’s been pretty consistent. Yes we’ve seen water fall from the sky. But we can’t under any circumstance start announcing to the world that our drought is over, do you understand? And yes, YOU need to keep that in mind above all else.
While driving in to work today I heard my normal AM sports talk station (710 ESPN), and I heard one of the hosts, Mychal Thompson (father of The Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson) give what seemed to be an innocent but ignorant statement over and over again. He literally kept saying that the drought was over in Los Angeles and bawled in seemingly genuine emotion on a very popular radio station.
There have been other instances where I’ve heard people say in small talk that the drought must be over because of all of the rain in Los Angeles (like at work, for example). But when I heard it on the radio and realized that this message is being broadcasted and discussed privately and not, I thought I’d come on and at least put in my contribution to the messaging that the drought is not over.
Partly what bothers me about this is that, even though it’s a small thing to commonly say, it also isn’t, because it reminds me of how easily humans are able to forget about problems that need our attention even if the signs aren’t completely evident at the moment. This seems to happen at the micro and macro human level.
We don’t want to encourage people to take longer showers or start fantasizing about their lawns being a blush and natural grass-green again.
The message that I hope we really believe in, because it’s true, is that 2016 was the third-straight hottest year on record for Earth. The article states, “It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.” And Deke Arndt, chief of global climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says, “A single warm year is something of a curiosity. It’s really the trend, and the fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes.”
The drought problems in California, even if right now as you drive through splashy freeways and consider buying new wiper blades, is not going anywhere.
The best thing I think we can do is feel blessed for more water, not shout victory or joy just yet, and to simply enjoy it and hope that it continues and that it is good for our short term and maybe long term environment.
So please join me in letting people know not to spread the message. If you see Small Talk behaving badly, let me know. I might need to bring him into a room again.