Thursday, September 09, 2010

The grass is always greener

If you are ever without a topic in conversation in Denmark, may I suggest the weather?  Of course it will follow a set pattern, but this is handy when you have had too many drinks at a party (and by party I mean any get-together of more than two Danes) and find yourself forced to make small talk with the person sitting across from you.  It will go something like this:

Dane: This summer has been better/worse/hotter/colder than last year.
You, the Foreigner: Yeah, what is it about Danish weather?
Dane: Sometimes we have very beautiful summers.
You, the Foreigner: Ah.  (Pause.) But they aren't very long or hot are they?
D: But one year it rained the whole summer.
YtF: Ah.  (Pause.) You've got some pretty long dark cold winters.  February is particularly grim.
D: There is no such thing as bad weather in Denmark, only bad clothing choices.
YtF: Oh, I'd beg to differ.  I'd go so far as to say a summer without a single sunny day is by definition a whole lot of bad weather.
D: This is why we leave our children outside to "air."  You will get used to it too.

At which point you flee for the bathroom and as you stare at the blurry reflection above the sink, it occurs to you that the weather conversation was pretty one sided and that it could have gone like this and no one would have noticed: 

Dane: This summer has been better/worse/hotter/colder than last year.
You, the Foreigner: I think frogs are pretty cute.
Dane: Sometimes we have very beautiful summers.
You, the Foreigner: But I don't know that I'd kiss one.
D: But one year it rained the whole summer.
YtF: So it's a good thing I'm not looking for Prince Charming.
D: There is no such thing as bad weather in Denmark, only bad clothing choices.
YtF: Hell, I'd settle for Prince Ready and Available For Rent.
D: This is why we leave our children outside to "air."  You will get used to it too.

If you ever want unsolicited advice from a Dane regarding clothing choices or how to get used to the horrible seasons in Denmark (laughingly called "spring," "summer," "fall," and "winter" but are really "cold," "not so cold," "cold again," "holy jesus it's cold AND dark"), just turn to the Dane and say "gosh, I'm cold!"

Me, I've been cold since mid-August.  As a foreigner this means I get Danes telling me, "oh, you aren't cold now!  Wait until December!"  Pshaw!  I've been through enough winters in DK to tell you, December is NOTHING, it's February you have to watch out for, fool!  Also, I'm not some noob who's brand new to this cold weather stuff.  I've lived in New England.  It starts snowing there in November and doesn't melt until April.  But just because it's colder there does not make me any less cold RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW, MAN!

'Course in New England they have this odd concept of time.  There's a saying, "if you don't like the weather in New England, wait five minutes."  From experiencing New England's weather, I can tell you that those"five minutes" takes approximately three months.  This must be why New Yorkers freak out if you tell them that another subway will be arriving in 10 minutes.  I mean good God, that's really half a year from now!  They also like to say they have "real" seasons in New England.  Yeah, really bad ones.  There's "still cold," "horribly hot and humid," "hey, those were a nice two weeks," and "blizzards."

California has two seasons, if you can call them that.  There's "hot" and "not hot."  Or "not raining" and "raining."  The exception is San Francisco.  While the rest of California is experiencing "hot," San Francisco is having "what lovely weather we are OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD IT'S COLD."  This is The Fog.  The Fog is why so many people around the world have San Francisco sweatshirts.  No one who lives outside the city is ever truly prepared.  The Fog is insidious and rolls up and over the city like a glacial steamroller.  It is damp.  It is cold.  It is unescapable.  It happens in the season we in the Northern Hemisphere expect to call "summer."  It is the reason you see all those who live in the city walking around during the sunny summer afternoon with fleeces tied around their waists.  The Fog is coming.

Of course, take a Dane to these locations and they will snort at the weather and insist that really, you just have to get used to it (except when it's hot, because then they collapse and die because they keep drinking beer instead of water and dehydrate - true story).  If human evolution had been left up to Danes, we'd still be living in caves and without fire.
Lene: I am kold.
Ole: It not kold now.  You wait til snow kom.  Den it is kold.
Lene: I could invent fire.
Ole: Stupid woman.  You get tough now.  Or go move south with Sven.  

But since I've been blessed with a higher intellect, when cold, I build a fire.


Yeah baby, that's what I'm talkin' about!

5 comments:

  1. I remember the fog from Switzerland. Sometimes I couldn't see the neighbouring apartment block for weeks.

    But yeah, I don't think it's cold and I collapse into a puddle of melted goo in the heat, although I don't drink beer, but I WHINE. My Asian mother followed the Danish example and left me out to air every day. ;)

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  2. This line is the essence of our very lives:

    "This summer has been better/worse/hotter/colder than last year"

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  3. HAHHA...I know exactly what you mean. Peter and I still cannot agree on Danish weather. I pretty much freeze my butt off the whole time I am there, no matter what time of year...and Peter is like "oh it isn't so bad."

    But yet here he freezes his butt off during the winter, and I cannot figure out why. I have asked him many times how he can think that 40-degree weather is freezing cold when he grew up in Denmark, and he claims it is because it is different.

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  4. I like to console myself with the fact I can snort, "This isn't hot. Over 100F for a few weeks straight, THAT'S hot." Or: "Fog? What, this? This mist right here? Have you BEEN to the Central Valley in winter? THAT'S fog."

    And then I remember that it was -25C here last winter, and the sun hardly ever shows its face for several months out of the year, and I have yet to see this fabulous, mythical Norwegian summer. And I cry on the inside, and mope, and whine. Kind of like this, right here.

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  5. I normally hate posts about the weather, but this one made me laugh and enjoy myself. It is truly the exception. Well said!

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