Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Past Deadline: Imagine! It's Cold in Canada!

On Sunday, I spent a good three hours marinating in a cold rain. Even though I dressed for it, by the end of it all my toes and fingers were tingly and I felt as if I needed to soak in a big tub of hot chocolate. (Yum!)

It wasn’t the nicest day to be outside, but I hate to complain. “Yeah, right,” you’re saying. Don’t worry, I have some complaining to do. I won’t let you down.

Here’s the thing. We are becoming weather weenies. Come on, people, we’re Canadian! We are all about weather. We know that if we don’t like the weather at this moment we should wait 10 minutes because it will probably change. We know that around this time of year it gets cold and it rains and, yes, it might even snow. We mutter and gripe about it and, as Canadians, we are entitled to do so with a hint of smugness. Our nation is about weather – and some other stuff, too – but weather is a biggie.

That said, there are two things that really stick in my craw. First, I loathe watching the national news and seeing a lead story about it being a cold day in Canada. This is especially true in the winter. When the lead story is that people in Canada were cold because the temperature dipped in January to -25 with a wind chill of -30, I get really cross. I have even been known to say bad words to the television.

I take news too seriously sometimes.

I mean really, people, that is just another day in our Canadian national identity. A real news story would be that it was plus 25 in January with a Humidex of 35.

The second thing that makes me grumble is when people abuse our right to smugly complain about the weather by doing so while wearing inappropriate clothing – and I’m not talking about T-shirts bearing lewd statements.

I find it utterly ridiculous (and I’ve mentioned this before) when someone being interviewed for the aforementioned lead story about cold weather in the winter (imagine!) is wearing a thin spring jacket, no hat or gloves and is trying to navigate an ice storm in stilettos.

If you’re standing on a street corner wearing a parka, a toque, a scarf and heavy mittens and there is an icicle hanging from your nose and what little exposed skin you have is blue, then you’re in the groove. You can complain freely.

The result of all this regular viewing of overexcited reporters (who are probably dressed inappropriately for the weather) interviewing similarly under-dressed people is that we are becoming soft. We are surprised and startled by cold, rainy weather.

Just the other day Groom-boy suggested to me that maybe the kids should get a ride to school because it was cold.

It was plus 4.

I, ever supportive, gave him my best nutbar look. “This is Canada,” I said. “They’re going to be walking to school all winter when it’s really cold, so they might as well ease into it. We’ll dress for it.”

Now, granted, it’s easier said than done when certain children decide they don’t like certain coats or refuse to wear hats and so on. And, of course, we always tell them “they will catch their death of cold” because that’s what parents are supposed to say, even though we all know you don’t catch colds from cold, but from germs. And, yes, I know that being cold can make you more susceptible to germs, so depending on which particular battles I choose to fight on any given day, I am apt to bring on the heavier science and make sure that if someone doesn’t wear his or her heavier jacket, it’s at least tucked into his or her backpack in case he or she changes his or her mind when he or she sees other warmly dressed kids.

I’m one to talk, though. It took me until third-year university, as I walked two kilometres across open, blustery fields to get to school, to realize just how awesome hats and scarves really are. Did you know hats actually keep your head warm?

Amazing stuff. Truly remarkable. It’s great to be Canadian.
Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 28/10

No comments: