Friday, April 04, 2008

Why the aged weather?

Recently there was a Ask Amy column that raised a question I have wondered about for awhile. Why do people become fascinated with the weather once they retire? I've seen this in my extended family, where elderly members have left the dinner table early to go watch the Weather Channel. They routinely know the weather in Connecticut better than I do (though they live elsewhere).

Any thoughts on why people become so attracted to weather as they age?


Dear Amy: Four years ago, my parents retired in their mid-50s.
Before they retired, they were my best friends. Since they retired, they have become stick-in-the-mud, bossy worrywarts.
They watch the Weather Channel all day and refuse to leave the house if there is a dark cloud in the sky...

Dear Going Nuts: I'm not sure what strange attraction the Weather Channel holds for retired people, but I have noticed that older people do tend to track with fascination weather systems as they move across the country....


S.S.STONE said...

This is so true. I know a few senior people obsessed with watching the changing weather patterns as well as some mid aged and "new drivers" like myself. As a new driver, I listen to the weather and if they mention "freezing rain/storm" I panic at the mere thought of having to drive in it.
Could it be they fear not being able to get out of serious weather situations while driving? Could it be due to the fact that there is the "weather channel" "storm warning updates" ..the media itself with the availability of the quickly changing weather announcements due to technological advancement in the weather world.
Sometimes during hurricane season if you turn on CNN it's all you hear.

Fear, Media, Idle Time? Just some thoughts.

nate said...

As a scientist, I've noticed that children are naturally interested in nature beyond aesthetics. This interest often gets lost. For example, most kids I meet wonder at some point why the sky is blue. Many of those same kids grow up to be adults who still do not know the answer and no longer care. For some reason their curiosity is either dead or buried under things with more practical day-to-day consequences.

Old, retired folks often revert to being a little more child-like than they had been for a few decades. Sometimes the reversion is bad (i.e. cranky old people). Sometimes it is good with a lot of wisdom and hindsight added to make the childlikeness strangely mature (i.e. crazy Great Uncle Willy pulling pranks at family reunions to entertain the kids). I don't know if it's from hormones, life situations, or both, but it happens.

My hypothesis is that retired people obsessed with the weather have re-discovered the curiosity hidden since childhood.

Brad Wright said...

I would have made more negative explanations, but I like what you said Nate--very uplifting.

I'm with you Sarah about freezing rain--can't stand it!