Friday, January 21, 2005

Chill, people

You can tell much about people by how they complain about the weather.

London is experiencing its first real cold snap of the season. The temp went down to something like -24 Celsius last night. Adding in the brisk winds that are blowing through the region brings the wind chill down to something like -35.

For some ridiculous reason, Canadians have to be different in everything they do. As a result, they use the metric system. In Fahrenheit, last night’s temp was -11, and the wind chill was -31. Whatever number you use, it was really cold.

I must admit I’m having a good time listening to folks whine, moan, and, yes, bitch about the temperature. I like to smile as they rant, letting them get it off their chest before I shrug my shoulders, look them right in the pupils and ask what they expect me to do about it? Do they want me to haul out my planetary space heater? Would a more regionalized hair dryer help?

Growing up in Montreal, where winters are somewhat more severe than they are down here in relatively balmy southwestern Ontario, I always looked forward to snowstorms and cold snaps. Maybe I was just being a kid – a kid who didn’t care about little things like working or paying bills – but I enjoyed the feeling you got when things were tough outside and you needed to get tough yourself if you were going to make it through. Sailors batten down the hatches before a storm hits, and this phrase often crosses my mind whenever I hear severe weather is rolling in.

My advice to the weather-whiners is simple: weather's going to happen whether you complain or not. Accept the simple fact that you have no control over it. A little variety - from sunny and warm, to cool and wet, to downright sub-Arctic - is a good thing.

And while you’re at it, please stop blaming the “weather man” or the “weather girl” for “getting it wrong. Television weather forecasters read the same Environment Canada (or wherever) web sites that you do. They just have nicer suits than we do.

The next time you wake up to a cold house on a frosty morning, try to repeat the word “Manyana” a few times. Pull on some layers of warm clothes and wear fluffy slippers on your feet. Look for something – a trinket or a tchatchke – that brings you comfort. Have a mug of tea. Linger over the paper for a few minutes longer. Enjoy the moment of peace that you wouldn’t have otherwise had if the weather hadn’t reminded you who’s really boss.

Bad weather builds strong character – and strong characters. We wouldn’t be who we are if every day dawned sunny and warm.


Moogie said...

Ahem. Was this directed at my post on cold weather? (grin) I do remember admitting I am a wimp. :) But you are right. So many people complain about the weather, it's kind of ridiculous. I'm amazed that weathermen/women have any self confidence at all, with the beatings that they take. I find it humorous. When we get our "freezes" hear people start moaning about it and talking about how they are going to move somewhere else. Go figure. Have a great day and stay warm!

vegemiterules said...

G'day Carmi, great sentiment in the last two lines of your post. Take care, be warm, catchya later.

Jamie said...

I like the cold weather, as long as I can just get from the house, to the car, to work, and back.

I like having the heater on, and snuggling under blankets, and jackets, and coats, and snow!

Ok, so I am weirdly happy right now.

mike said...

Since it was my day off and it was cold - but not snowy - outside, I decided to go to Port Stanley and check out the beach and take some pictures in the bright sunshine. It was one of the few times there that I could find a parking spot right beside Mackie's and GT's. In fact, I could pretty much park anywhere. Though after taking some pics - even with no real wind chill to speak of, I was very glad I had a working heater in the Honda. Taking pictures for more than an hour off and on - intermittently with no glove on the trigger hand, is a numbing experience even for die hard Canadians. :)