Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whining in the heat

The English are fond of complaining that their fellow countrymen are fond of complaining about the weather. They should come to Prague sometime. Few varieties of human being in the world beat Praguers at bitching about the temperature and conditions outside.

Like most weather-whining nations, Czechs have solid reasons for being annoyed about what Mother Nature serves up. Our typical winter is six months or even longer, meaning it eats up half the year in the best instances. Otherwise, the damn thing can grind on straight through the early growing season. Adding to this woe is the near-absence of spring and fall, easily the most atmospheric times of the year.

So that leaves us effectively whip-sawing from the bite of winter to the lethargy of summer and back again. Nobody likes gray, dark cold and fewer enjoy the heavy and damp summers we get almost immediately after. So for many, they never get the porridge at exactly the right temperature. That'll make a person bitch, oh yes it will.

Nevertheless, it always gets wearying to hear, yet again, in early April people moaning miserably about how cold they are and how much time they've been forced to spend inside since September. Relief comes in the form of spring/summer a few weeks later, when they get exactly the weather they're dreaming of...but they squander this by complaining for the rest of the season how oppressively hot it is. The October freeze comes, and they switch to I Hate Bastard Winter mode again.

I can take or leave 'em both, really. The older I get, the more of a stay-at-home I become, so six+ months burrowing inside is not going to make me feel deprived. My body temperature seems to be higher than that of normal people, so even the muggiest of summers don't bother me. The only weather-bitching I'm tempted to do is about that shoulder season problem - but hey, it's a free country and no one's stopping me from hopping over to say, France, to take advantage of the Paris au printemps one of these springs.

Besides, unlike many people in this city, I don't feel compelled to take advantage of the rare and limited hours of heat and sunshine. A handful of outdoor days and the occasional trip to mountains/woods/beach is enough for me to feel I've done enough to properly capture the season. Traditional Praguers, on the other hand, seem to feel obligated to hang out in the beer garden or spend yet another weekend at the chata every time the sun pops through the clouds and the mercury crosses 20C.

But at least they're going somewhere and doing something...and not complaining about how much they hate the weather.

Until the next round of cold and wet, that is.


cassandra said...

I found your blog through an ex-pats website and I thought it was really interesting. I’m also an American, a writer, and looking to move overseas. Ideally I would like to find work at an American newspaper or magazine to fund my stay (I have a BA in Journalism from NYU). Right now, you seem to be living my dream! If you have a second, I’d love to hear about how you made the jump and found a job. I know you must be really busy, but I figured I’d drop you a line anyway.
Hope to hear from you soon!

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