going native

I was moments away from drafting a post about the horrific weather we’ve been having in the UK this spring, when I noticed a massive article about it on the Guardian’s homepage. Not only have the few weeks of wet, cold, and windy weather merited several inches of column space, it has attracted loads of commenters making completely unironic statements about signs of spring (or lack thereof) in their local areas.

The British preoccupation with discussions of the weather is something I’ve noticed in my five-and-a-half years here. And to be fair, the fact that the weather is generally pretty miserable probably makes it worth remarking on – either to bemoan your wet shoes or lack of umbrella or, on very rare occasions, to express astonishment at the sight of a strange, glowing and warmth-emanating orb in the middle of the sky. I suppose if you lived somewhere like Arizona, Nairobi, or Singapore, you’d have fairly fixed expectations about what precipitation may or may not descend that day and find some other fodder for small talk. But in the UK – where last week we had a day that alternated between bright, sunny spells and diagonally slanting hail – the weather is the default topic for those awkward, stuck-in-a-lift-with-a-colleague-I-barely-know situations.

My point being, it occurred to me that writing a post complaining about always talking about weather would be somewhat hypocritical. So best that I end it here, and not dare to point out that on the first in several rainy days that I’ve remembered to carry an umbrella, there isn’t the faintest sign of a drop…


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