It all started at last week’s Exponent meeting. The burnout in the room was so apparent you could almost smell the smoke. Somewhere around page six of our review of the previous Exponent edition, my mind began to wander, eventually landing in California. The weather was warm there. From the sea to the valley to the foothills to the mountains the sun shone and melted away my worries. Abruptly, my illusion was shattered.

“Tommy, do you have anything you want to write about this week?” Meghan, theculture section’s fearless leader raised the damning yet undeniably fair question.

“Me? I mean, uhh, yeah. I mean no. No. I haven’t come up with anything yet.”

“Ok, well there isn’t a whole lot going on around town right now but I have a couple of ide-”

Then, Finley cut in, “You could write about the weather. That’s culture, kinda.”

Caught off guard, I retorted, “The weather sucks.”

“I know. Write about that.”

Complain about the weather? I was already planning on doing that! In fact, those were my only plans for the rest of the week. Kids, listen up. If someone wants to pay you to do something you were going to do anyway, you squeeze that opportunity with everything you’ve got and you don’t let go. I looked at Meghan. “I’ll do that,” I said decisively, and for the first time ever I was grateful to be wearing a mask as it hid my sheepish grin.

Complaining about the weather is in my blood. As a second-generation Californian, sunshine and clear skies are all I know. My wonderful mother, perpetually enveloped in double-layered wool socks and a down jacket, is quite possibly the most talented weather-complainer the world has ever known. During the first 18 years of my snowless existence, I learned everything I could from her and vowed to put my apprenticeship to good use as I set out for Montana.

The rest of the meeting flew by. As I rushed out of the SUB, my mind raced, filled with weather complaints as petty as they were pointless. I whipped open the door and stepped outside, and my “positive mental attitude” was torn away in the blink of an eye. It seemed that the tyrannical child who controls our weather had decided to once again shake the gigantic snow-globe that we exist inside for nine months of the year. In all my excitement, I had completely forgotten that the weather remained unflinchingly, unapologetically terrible. I stomped across campus like a cranky toddler, feeling sorry for myself all the way. I flung open the door of my truck and the wind promptly slammed it in my face. I punched the door and cursed.

Then I looked up. The Bridgers had been adorned with a fresh, white coat. The evening sun broke through the clouds just enough to illuminate each falling snowflake and cover campus in a comforting bronze glow. For a moment it wasn’t cold. It wasn’t windy. It was simply beautiful, and I couldn’t find a damn thing to complain about.