"What do you think about this weather?"

So I have a confession to make: I'm not a native Midwesterner. I consider myself a "transplant," raised out on the east coast with my Military family but finding my real home, connecting with my roots here in the plains. And as someone who is proud to call themselves a Midwesterner, I get a little miffed when insults are flung in my fine region of the country's direction. And most recently, it has been our fixation on the weather.

Now, anyone from another country would assume Americans in general are pretty obsessed with the weather: when I studied abroad in the UK and traveled to Germany, you can bet there was no Doppler radar coverage. In fact, mostly they would only show an elementary-school quality map of the continent with cartoonish clouds and bold printed numbers with the temperature. Call me a red-blooded American because I was outraged that whis was being passed off as a weather report! Why was there no mention of a low pressure system rising from the ocean? Where was my graph of predicted rainfall over the next few days? Where's my "on the scene" weather guy standing in the rain to tell me it's raining? But I digress...

It seems that, despite our nation's obsession with weather (let me remind you that we do have a highly-rated cable network entirely devoted to the subject), the Midwest gets picked on the most for being acutely aware of the weather. In fact, there is a cliche that we Midwestern-folk have nothing better to talk about than the weather because we're A) polite and B) boring. I find these sort of things tend to be said from people from temperate climates who experience what most would consider "normal" or maybe even "predictable" weather, something that we Midwesterners can hardly fathom.

So I'm here to dispel this myth because those people watching us from the cozy coasts and warm south have no idea. For example, if I were in say, Arizona, you can imagine how long the conversation would last if I asked what someone thought of the weather. Whereas anywhere in the Midwest, you're going to get possibly an evening's worth of conversation involving blinding snowstorms, hellish heatwaves, flash flooding and softball-size hail - possibly in the same day! You see, here in the Midwest, we prize our hardiness, and nothing shows off how tough you are than surviving the weather that Mother Nature lobs at us season after season. If you can survive one winter in the Midwest, chances are you can probably survive anywhere. We're a stubborn lot, and damn if we're not proud of the fact. So despite what cliches, there's a reason we're all talking about the weather around here: chances are there's a good story behind that recent snow storm or flood! And it's certainly more lively conversation than what was on TV last night...

So that's about it: we like to talk about the weather here because it's interesting, and some times, dangerous and exciting to boot. And trust me, I'm not saying that the other parts of the country don't experience extreme weather - I think we all remember some distinct whining out east recently about a few flurries - but when extreme becomes the norm, why would you talk about anything else?

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