After our second straight winter with dozens of days below the fahrenheit zero and weeks on end without it creeping close to a thaw we seem to be(i'll try not to jinx us here)...on the cusp of spring. Now, I think we northeasterners have a bit of a reputation for complaining about the weather. In fact, until I moved to some other places, I didn't know there were actually places where people didn't complain about the weather. It's a learned thing. And it's not that you have to be a negative person to complain about weather, It's more of a cultural ritual. It sounds like this(apply your own version of a Maine accent 'cause it's wicked tedious to try and type it as it sounds...thank you):
Me: Geez, we finally got a warm day to beat back some of this wretched snow.
Bruce(the neighbor - he's 80, lifelong Mainer): Ya got that right.
Me: My driveway's already a mud pit
Bruce: My wagon almost disappeared in that pothole at the end of it.
Me: I was reading the ticks actually thrive on these cold winters and it's supposed to be a nasty year for ticks.
Bruce: oh yeah? huh.
See how we're already planning in advance toward future weather related things to complain about? Ticks! Now this type of dialogue goes on throughout the region and throughout the year. If it's a rainy spring that's a real conversational goldmine because we'll go from a super cold winter - boOM! - right into a rainy spring:
Me: The kids are going nuts today, I can't get 'em to stay outside for more than a minute.
Bruce: All this rain, they probably forgot what the Sun looks like.
Me: Ya got that right(some of my best phrases come from Bruce).
Bruce: Weatherman says it's supposed to clear up a little on Sunday.
Me: I'll believe that when I see it.
Bruce: I know it.
Keep in mind that my wife considers me a nearly annoying optimist. I love heaps of snow, cold weather, rain and I can even handle a little bit of heat for short periods. While she was planning for this Bali trip I was planning the Papa payback vacation trip to the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia where the summertime temps peak out at about 50F. Now that plan kinda fell apart so Calvin and I are hitting the water for a week long canoe trip in one of the most notorious mosquito hotbeds in the state. Point being - you don't have to actually hate the weather to voice your gripes. Ol' Bruce, he goes ice fishing nearly every day of the winter and there is not a hobby, habit or sport colder than that one. As soon as that ice is thick enough to hold any weight at all, he has a team of fellas out there setting up so many ice shacks it looks like a hobo town.
Bruce: That wind was so bad out on that lake this afternoon it blew Cecil's shack right into the cove! I thought Bud and I were gonna blow right in after it so I tied the whole friggin' rig right on to the bumper of Buddies truck.
Me: No kidding.
(He thereby continues to talk about wind and lake weather for ten minutes or so)
Me: So, did you catch any fish?
Bruce: Couple a little ones...
Bruce: Oh geez I almost forgot(laughing to himself for a minute before he regains his composure). Ol' Johnny caught a 9 pound Cusk! It's head was as big around as a coffee can (holding out his hands to show me how big a coffee can is). Well, when he got it up through that hole it came off the hook. You shoulda seen Ol' Johnny diving around on the ice trying to keep that fish from sliding back into the lake. I thought Bud was gonna wet himself from laughin'.
Mom: I wish it would snow again just to cover up these dirty snowbanks.
Me: Oh, really?
Mom: Well, no... they're just filthy to look at.
Now, plenty of people actually do despise the weather here. My Aunt Clementine was born and raised in Virginia and she has wanted to move back there for nearly fifty years. The woman hasn't been warm in 50. years. Now that's something to complain about. There's a whole army of people that would have nothing more to talk about if they moved someplace more hospitable.
Typically, at this time of year, we praise the sunshine and strip down to t-shirts if the thermometer even approaches 40 degrees and genuinely give thanks that we survived yet another winter. There will be plenty of things to complain about soon enough. For instance: mud, rain, black flies, mosquitoes, black flies and mosquitoes together, tourists, heat, short summers...
(fall is very lovely though - not too hot, not too cold, all the tourists have gone home)
not enough wood split yet, advertising for Christmas before Thanksgiving, chickens stopped laying and so forth and so on until soon enough we come full circle to winter and we can just complain about the damn cold again...and frozen pipes.
Me: Hey Bruce how's it going?!
Bruce: 6 feet up is better than 6 feet under.
Adelaide: Ya got that right.