What It's Like Out There

Everyone’s talking about it.

Photo: Linh Nguyen

A vast reservoir of clichés has developed over generations of these supposedly lame conversations, a byproduct of the ingenuity the topic demands. And now even these clichés can be amusing for the fact that they’re so tired. I’m being serious when I say that in the hands of a master conversationalist, a well-timed, perfectly placed “Hot enough for you?” can serve delight on a very hot day or (even better) a very cold one. (“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” is starting to gain similar status.) It reminds us, by dint of its banality, of our common, corny American heritage. This is hardly boring; it’s democratic, a shared language that allows us to connect with strangers easily, noncommittally and without causing offense.

Awl pal Dave Bry’s Letter of Recommendation for talking about the weather is the pure apotheosis of that column. There is nothing to add.

Letter of Recommendation: Talking About the Weather