Friday, May 09, 2008

Under the Weather

It's an old cliché that the Brits talk incessantly about the weather. Well, we do. Whether it's due to innate social awkwardness, or just because we're just meteorologically-inclined, I'm not sure.

The beautiful sunshine is, at the moment, a constant source of material. Whether we're complaining about being inside on a day like today, or reassuring each other that the fine weather is supposed to last until at least Tuesday, or just rolling eyes and doing an exaggerated fanning motion, it is everywhere.

We're probably a bit relieved. Weather conversations alleviate the pressure to ask real questions, or to have to cope with those dreadful awkward silences while we shuffle past each other in the office kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil and staring at the cupboards. We have shared experience, and that experience is constantly at risk of fading away, so the conversations must continue for the duration.

I have a friend from Equador, and she said to me that it's true that they don't discuss the weather as much where she's from, but only because it would be a really repetitive conversation. It is, she says, nearly always sunny in Equador. If they talked about the weather the whole time the interchange would go something like this:

"Oh, weather's nice today! Nice to see the sun out, isn't it?"
"Oh yes. Lovely. It's supposed to stay like it, too."
"Oh really?"
"That's what I heard. Weekend should be glorious. And next week."
"Yep. And the next weekend. And the week after that. And the week after, as well."
"Um. Oh! Rea..."
"And the weekend after that. And the following week. And the one after."

Or so I imagine. Unusual weather is our very favourite. We all rush out after work and at lunchtimes, descending on the shops to scavenge gleefully for flip-flops and sunglasses before sustaining rather dangerous sunburn and then getting drunk on a combination of false-exocitism and Pimms.

The best thing about the weather-talk, though, is that we can all agree on it. You can start a conversation about how warm it is and be guaranteed that your fellow converser will nod enthusiastically and, if you're lucky, launch into a lengthy anecdote about how they saw someone faint from heat exhaustion on the Northern Line.

I feel a definite sense of Britishness when taking part in these interchanges (which I do, with enthusiastic gusto) but perhaps we could shake it up a little. Next time someone brings up the weather I might just completely disagree with them. Perhaps in place of a "oh, yes, beautiful, isn't it!" I might throw in a "Christ no. God it's cocking horrible out there. I want to vomit just thinking about it." Or instead of "I know! Everyone just seems happier, don't they?" I will grimace horribly, look them in the eye and then growl "It makes me want to eat babies."

Or I might just move to Equador.


Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Eating babies would surely make them gasp. A new reaction I'd say when discussing the sunny weather.. We just go thru the 5 stages of grief in Seattle, sadness, anger, bargaing.. forget the other.. and then eventually we move onto acceptance for the grey. And then the sun comes out. It's f'n glorious when it's here, that's for sure. xo

5:03 pm

Blogger Badass Geek said...

The weather is very unpredictable here in Maine. We had 12 feet of snow this past Winter, and just like that! it was all melted and here we are on our way into Summer.

We talk about the weather a lot over here, too. Thats mostly because in Maine, there isn't much else that changes thats worth talking about.

5:38 pm

Blogger Ys said...

hehe you're so right! i'm typically british in that i love talking about the weather ;)

10:38 am

Blogger Clarissa said...

Are babies best boiled or roasted?

6:45 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Miss D - I think not having sun every day makes us more appreciative when we do see it - it sends us slightly insane with glee. Something of which I whole-heartedly approve.

BG - If we had twelve feet of snow here there would be country-wide hysteria. It would be like the world turned inside out. People would be screaming and running into things, dogs would be born with the heads of goats and the Queen would pose naked for a publication usually favoured by burly men with questionable personal hygiene. We wouldn't cope well at all.

Ys - Yeah, we all do. We joke about it but secretly it is our favourite thing (after tea, toast and soap operas, of course).

Clarissa - in this weather? Are you insane?! A baby salad is all I can manage.

9:50 am


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