According to national stereotyping, British people are supposedly obsessed with the weather. I confess that to be true by and large. It’s a rare conversation that doesn’t involve some mention of the weather. There are even people who claim they can predict the weather using their bunions and bladders. It’s an island thing I’m sure, borne out of earlier generations needing to know exactly what gust of wind was going to do what when.
However, as much as I was part of that British cultural phenomenon of talking about the weather even to random strangers, I was never as obsessive about the weather as I have become in the two and a half months I have lived in America. Not only do I now own a smartphone (a marvel for me in itself since I had the equivalent of a neanderthal mobile phone in Scotland) but I have weather apps on it. Yes, apps plural. Before October, I had heard of apps, got the concept but had never been near one. Almost the first thing I did when I had a smartphone in my mitts was download weather apps. I felt I needed more than one for verification purposes. That was the first sign that the obsession was taking hold.
My husband always talked about how, growing up in the Washington DC metro area, he and his brother would watch the Weather Channel. I always scoffed at this, judging it to be a lame use of time in the “paint drying” vein. My husband also likes to watch the map on flights, even when the little plane symbol is just slowly moving pixel by pixel across the ocean. I thought watching the weather channel was akin to that. But lo and behold I now have the weather channel app on my phone and I have found myself watching (just a couple of times mind) the actual channel. The obsession was taking root.
I think it is symptomatic of having moved here as Winter was coming (Mr Pict would say that in a Ned Stark voice) but I find myself checking for updates on the temperature and predicted precipitation and whether said precipitation will be in the form of rain or snow. We have also had a rash of weather warnings in the past few weeks linked to the snow fall, some freezing rain and, today, a warning of severe wind chills for the coming days. All those potential little “red alerts” just feed the growing obsession.
What the boys are obsessed about, of course, is snow days. They just want to know if the weather is going to be so bad that they get to stay tucked up cosy in bed past their usual “rise and shine” time and stay home playing instead of going to school. I have to admit to quite liking their snow days myself at the moment but perhaps that novelty will wear off. I prefer the snow days that are called the evening before rather than receiving a trio of phone calls (each of our cell phones plus the landline) at 4.30 in the morning.
I wonder if there is an app for overcoming Weather Addiction….