Wednesday 13 November 2019

Brendan O'Connor: The sun is clouding our vision

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

AS WE head into the completely uncharted territory of week four (or is it five? Who even knows what day it is anymore at this stage?), we are beginning to think the unthinkable.

Is it actually possible to get bored of good weather? Even more unthinkable, we are starting to wonder if it is possible to get bored with talking about the weather. There isn't much for us to say about the weather now is there? Like happy families, good weather is all good in the same way.

But bad weather, like unhappy families, is all bad in different ways. So normally we can compare the weather in different parts of the country, and marvel at how it was different just 10 minutes down the road, and how it was like summer this morning and it's like winter now.

Whereas, "Another lovely day", "Isn't it fantastic?", "It is", doesn't really compare.

And there's only so much drinking people can do, and so much sniggering about poor fools who paid for foreign holidays. And there's only so much driving our kids around we can do, making them relive some mythical Irish summer we think we had in the Seventies when a brunch was afters rather than a meal in itself. We have forgotten that we were usually bored ourselves on these spins, and that reliving them now won't give us whatever closure we're looking for.

So, to keep ourselves interested, we've started picking holes in the weather. We have turned the fine weather into a problem. Psychologically we needed to do that anyway. For many centuries now we have blamed the bad weather for our unhappiness. So when the weather got good and we were still unhappy, we decided we'd better blame our unhappiness on the good weather. Ongoing happiness is inconceivable to us, so anything, however good, that prevails long enough, needs to be redefined as a source of misery.

So we've gone into disaster-movie mode. The Irish Times, having announced the sun itself was dying a week ago, has now begun a diet of apocalyptic weather stories. Not only were there queues of cars trying to evacuate our cities on Friday, the roads were actually melting underneath them. Some drivers didn't think they would make it . . . to Wexford in time for a few G&Ts before dinner.

The HSE got in on it as well, saying the weather is now "problematic", and urging people to make sure to walk on the shady side of the street.

Honestly, it did. Other prophets of doom warned it could hit the 30s in the midlands, as if the midlanders didn't have enough to deal with.

Most worrying is that this level of good weather can have long-term health effects. Not only are we wearing fewer clothes and starting to take a more casual attitude towards work, but we are starting to protest on the streets, and in Doheny and Nesbitts.

There are warm water fish and coconuts being picked up by fishing nets and some of our young women have real tans. It's almost as if, having tried civilisation and made a balls of it, we have started to regress to a more primitive existence. It is almost as if we are slipping back down the evolutionary ladder – and becoming Mediterranean.

Irish Independent

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