My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Totally Unrelated to Kids: Unusual Weather and Homemade Food

The other day, a lovely woman that I know was saying that she’d like to have her baby in a Birthing Center, but there are no Birthing Centers in Fort Collins. (The nearest one is in Longmont, about an hour away.) Without any thought, I fired off some comment about how Longmont’s hospital is not-for-profit, in contrast to our local hospital. Not helpful at all, and certainly a highjack of her original conversation. I have been cringing at my silly ramblings ever since.

Of course, this is nothing new to me. Have you ever walked into a conversation and changed the trajectory to something controversial or political? I do this surprisingly often without any ill intent. I don’t want to sound like a braggart, but if you have a story about how you stuck your foot in your mouth, I bet I could top it. I’m that bad at communicating. Of course, I communicate quite a bit, so therein lies the problem. Those of us who talk a lot, are more apt to have more snafus. I think this has to do with statistics or string theory or something.

I’m particularly terrible at email communication. So the story goes, you cannot fully interpret the “tone” of a person’s message if you simply read it. Many emails are sent off without editing, and can be received and misinterpreted very quickly. I once got an email from another kind woman that I know. In the email, she was trying to communicate her thoughts in one long run-on sentence, and I picked up on one particular phrase and responded hastily. The next thing you know she’s calling me crying, saying that she didn’t mean to offend me. Dear me, I haven’t made anyone cry since the 4th grade. I felt awful. Come to find out, her email didn’t mean what I thought it meant, and I was a jerk for responding with such a defensive tone.

Who among us doesn’t struggle at times with communicating? In some instances, like yesterday when I struck up a conversation with a stranger while waiting to get my tires replaced, I am fond of the exchange and really enjoy making a new connection. In other instances, I’m awash with guilt and remorse: “Why on God’s green Earth did I say THAT??” In the worst case scenario, I’m left rehashing the conversation with a mock-dialogue while in the shower days later. Talking to yourself is questionable in many circumstances, but having full length conversations based on recent historical events may be the most futile communication effort ever employed by word-vomiters.

In any case, I’d like to introduce you to the most non-polarizing topic I’ve yet to stumble upon… The Weather.

I posted a few photos on Facebook of our recent weather, and suddenly I’m popular. I’m striking up conversations with old college buddies and extended family members alike. Folks like to weigh in on the weather. And, as I’ve learned, it’s surprisingly difficult to have strong feelings about the weather. The weather simply is. Weather is not a justice issue, nor a source of alienation. There is no proper way to respond to a photo of a snowstorm in May, thus it is a conversation-starter without inviting conversation-killers.

Go ahead and try to make this photo divisive, I dare you. Conservatives and liberals alike can all agree that this is one heck of a May 1st snow storm.

Go ahead and try to make this photo divisive, I dare you. Conservatives and liberals alike can all agree that this is one heck of a May 1st snow storm.

Here is another photo that I posted on Facebook a few days ago:

Homemade bagels (made by my hubby)

Homemade bagels (made by my hubby)

Dare I say that this photo of homemade bagels was even more wildly popular than any pertaining to the weather? It’s as if the world has opened up to me: If I celebrate the homemade food that I eat and acknowledge the abnormalities of the weather, I am host to communication that I am actually proud of! I need not fear rebuke from right-wing radicals who say, “The First Ammedment gives me the right to have daffodils and hyacinths in May!” or lefties who cry, “How many calves had to die for you to make those rolls-with-a-hole?” Indeed, I am in a blissful land of heartwarming dialogue.

Of course, heartwarming dialogue can be a bit boring, and sometimes controversy is invigorating. Perhaps there’s room for both. But not about weather and food.

What do you think?