We talk about the weather a lot because it so affects our day-to-day, but also because there is a nervous acceptance of a force so mighty and unpredictable that we can't help but lament, joke, and commiserate. A common strand of conversation has been to mock those who've seemed to be affected more by relatively tamer conditions. Those up north laugh at school closures, East Coasters tease West Coaster and Sun Belters for being softies, and everyone makes fun of the South.
All in good fun, I guess. But, on another level, this is no laughing matter. Weather conditions can cause considerable personal distress, economic loss, and even death. We may roll our eyes at parts of the country that seem ill-equipped to deal with what we would consider an easy amount of weather-related hardship, but if it never snows in your part of the country why should you be expected to be ready? And why do we so easily tend towards kicking our milder-climate friends when they're down, instead of rallying around them in their time of relative need and uncertainty?
Here's why. When we are suffering, and someone else who is suffering less than we are squeals harder than we do, it is hard to be sympathetic and it is easy to be dismissive. Ragging on others feels good because we come out looking tougher and heartier. But so what? It still doesn't excuse the fact that it's not very nice of us and that we should know better. A couple of inches of snow in some parts of the country may in fact be a worse hardship than a couple of feet elsewhere. And besides, even if it isn't, it isn't very kind to respond to weakness by mocking it. That's what bullies do. How about let's not be bullies.