Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Clouds. Rain. Drizzle. Drivel.

I have few pet peeves.

Talking about the weather with complete strangers is one of them.

I hate it. Worse than the awkward silence in an elevator is the stranger's obnoxious urge to fill it with blather about today's barometric conditions. Pretend you are checking your voicemail. Stare. Even clear your throat for God's sake. Unless you're Al Roker, I really don't care about your entirely obvious assessment. It's shallow, devoid of the slightest bit of substance, and not even remotely related to a topic of conversation we might have chosen had we anything useful or expressive to communicate to one another. And this is coming from someone who likes to chat.

Disagree with that? Then, you're also disagreeing (at least in part) with the reasoning of the law. It's why these mindnumbing exchanges are not subject to the hearsay exclusion in the Federal Rules of Evidence.

"[I]t becomes plausible to view some verbal expressions as nonassertive in some senses: Perhaps one instance is words that are reflexive, hence more like physical reaction than expression of conscious mental impression. Another candidate is words that embody conventional social pleasantries, since they often have little if any factual content are in that sense "meaningless."' (Evidence, Mueller & Kirkpatrick; Nonassertive Behavior - Verbal Expressions).

So, it should be acknowledged that I make no positive claim nor commit myself to any viewpoint or action when I say that it sure is cold and cloudy in New Haven today.


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