Monday, 6 April 2009

The Pedant's Almanac

This idea for a blog predates my having heard of blogs. It was originally meant to be a daily journal, and stems from my lifelong experience of Aucklanders having no concept of seasons. Seeing as I woke up to an inch of snow blanketing Pittsburgh today, despite there being blossoms, new buds, and bunnies everywhere, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you about it anyway.

I'll spare the rant about uninsulated housing, and people wearing jandals on sunny but cold days in July, and all of that, but take my word for it that there is a causal link between people that experience relatively benign weather year-round, and completely unrealistic expectations about what the weather will be doing at any given moment. As soon as it's sunny in September (which is, of course, the very end of winter in New Zealand), people start breaking out the shorts and t-shirts, and planning trips to the beach. When it inevitably rains for most of December, which it does every single year, people complain that they're not going to get a summer. Occasionally this turns out to be the case -- I think we all recall the miserable summer of 02/03, where it barely stopped raining for more than two days at a time, and New Zealand defeated India at home by making the pitches virtually unplayable.

Anyway, this particular cultural trait is annoying to anyone with any sense of perspective, but is especially annoying when one works in retail, which I did for about a year and a half in my early-twenties. When you're selling people things, there is little to talk about except the weather, so of course the complaints came daily. It came to a head for me one evening in early September, 2003. We had had about two days of sun, so Summer was officially here, despite the NPC still having nearly two months to go. After these two days of sun, we of course had a chilly wind and rain, and on this particularly evening, a woman came in and exclaimed 'it's supposed to be summer!' I responded quietly that it was, as a matter of fact, spring, but I don't think my response really registered with her. I have never believed in the maxim that the customer is always right, and even if I did believe in it I don't see why it should apply to phatic communion.

It was then that I resolved to begin a daily journal to record the weather, so that over the course of many years I would develop a kind of personal almanac, and could confidently tell people that it is, in fact, perfectly normal to see a period of sun in the last weeks of October, followed by a few weeks of rain, and that they should quit their whining and be thankful they don't live in Canada. I even told my boss of my plans. Had I had regular access to a computer and known about blogging at the time, I might well have begun this project, but as it was I would have needed to go out and buy a notebook. I couldn't be bothered with that, and just lost interest

No comments:

Post a Comment