Unfolding plans 76 – products we buy that don’t really work

Would it surprise you to know that the most popular apps are to do with the weather?  Probably not if you live in Great Britain.  Here the weather is the main topic of everyone’s conversation.  If you are ever in any doubt about what to say, the weather is safe ground to start any conversation.  It fascinates us all but why?

It is paradoxical though.  I’m sure that you will have a weather app on your smartphone or tablet.  It gives you an understanding of what may be coming yet they are rarely accurate.  Anything more than a day ahead is pushing it.  How many other products would we buy that don’t really work and not complain about it?

The climate is a chaotic system and forecasts can change by the minute.  I have often wondered why the television forecasts always start with what the weather has been like today.  Why, when we already know this?  Is it because that is the only bit that we can be certain about?  We can be absolutely clear about how the weather has behaved today and so can build on this to explain how this may affect the future.   We can also use it to explain how complicated a business being a weather forecaster is.

The information these apps give is of little use.  We can’t change the weather.  At best we can alter our plans to accommodate the climate yet even here our choices are limited.  Only in the most exceptional of cases will the weather alter our lives.  Most of us will still go to work on Monday morning come hail or shine. I always carry an umbrella with me even on the sunniest of work days.  It is in my work bag.  This is Britain after all and you need to cover all bases.

So why the fascination?  Why do we need to know so much about something we can’t alter and won’t really take account of in our quotidian lives?

The paradox is that the weather is both a constant and a variable.  It is always there yet always changing.  It is predictable up to a point yet completely unpredictable at times.  On a macro level it behaves in a way that can be understood but when we get down to the micro level it is all over the place.

Could it be that the weather is like a metaphor of life itself, a great swirling mass of humanity made up of individual tales, trials and tribulations?  From afar we can see the patterns and predict events yet at ground level we are individuals with complex lives and complicated relationships.  All of our individual actions come together to create the warm fronts, cyclones and squally showers that make us who we are.

Perhaps we are fascinated by the weather because of its very uncertainty.  It gives us hope that there are greater powers beyond our control and reminds us that life is complex.  A life app would go down very well.

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