Monday, February 2, 2009

I've forgotten you, America -- it's snowing

I'm inclined to agree with Heather that this picture is awesome. Really, what's not to love?

Happy Groundhog Day. For our friends in the Home Nations it really is a holiday in the United States, not just a film. I mentioned the significance of 2 February to a girl in one of my lectures Monday and she seemed generally amused to learn that it is indeed a real thing. Well, perhaps bemused is a better word. Poor Alaw hasn't yet quite mastered the trick of avoiding eye contact with me, like most of the other people in my course. So I will sit and talk to her before lectures, yammering on about whatever happens to pop into my head. I secretly know that she's not listening but keep at it anyway, telling myself that I am imparting to her a valuable life lesson: If you smile and nod the crazy person won't go away. Some day, she will be on a bus and remember me and know to stare out the window and ignore that dodgy bloke whose bouquet is one of urine and Tesco cider and he will move on to another seat and instead try to get that emo girl to believe that he's Jesus. And Alaw will think: "Thank you Chris Cope, for all that you have taught me." But obviously she won't think it too long or too hard, lest I should hear and suddenly show up to tell her about obscure American holidays.

"What's the point of it?" asked Alaw.

"It's... uhm... I don't know if it has a point," I said. "A groundhog comes out of a hole and if it sees its shadow there'll be six more weeks of winter."

At this point I told myself to make up a load of false Groundhog Day traditions and insist that it's a really big deal in the United States, just to mislead her. But I was really tired and unable to come up with an idea that didn't involve sex. That's the way my brain works, picturing boobies is the default setting.

Also I wasn't really able to remember anything about Groundhog Day. Things of which I am not reminded nigh daily slip easily from my memory, so it and any number of things Americana are getting lost in the fog these days. For example, I didn't realise that Sunday was the Super Bowl until the afternoon before.

Coverage of the damn game didn't even start until 11 p.m. in Britain, so I didn't bother to watch. Besides, Arizona Cardinals? That's like Carolina winning the Stanley Cup -- there's nothing in it. There are only about eight native Arizonans, how could anyone have gotten worked up over that game?

Besides, we were too busy over here dealing with the wrath of The Lord Our God. His judgment was metered out in the form of snow, which Britons are utterly incapable of dealing with. Indeed, locusts we could probably handle. All of the chavs' dogs would eat them, which would make for a healthy alternative to the leftover curries and burnt fish fingers they are usually fed (a). But snow. Crikey.

All of England shut down. Keep that in mind potential invaders: no need to bomb London, just bring snow machines. The blokes at Buck Hill have the power to stage a coup d'état. I just hope they bring those nachos they used to serve in the chalet. Man, I could eat a mess of those when I was 13.

Here in Cardiff there would be occasional 30-second flurries of utterly useless snow dust, but for the most part we all went about our day -- staring into the sky and secretly wishing that we could have a chance to piss and moan about the weather just like the English. Why do the English always get everything first? Typical. If this isn't a clear and obvious reason for an independent Wales I don't know what is.

There is talk that we will get our chance Tuesday. A tiny bit has begun to fall as I write this and we are all quite excited about it. Plaid Cymru, a political party here in Wales, noted the first flakes of snow via its Twitter. In the U.S., political parties use their Twitter accounts to bore you with vaguely-worded policy statements, here they tell you where it's snowing. In a very strange way, that makes them seem more connected.

By the way, Minnesotans, the amount of snow we're talking about here wouldn't even be enough to cause you to put the lid back on your coffee as you drove through it. But you'll probably need to send us rescue teams if it keeps up for much longer.

(a) Whoa. Random act of classism there. Where'd that come from?


Chris Cope said...

Here's another Twitter from Plaid Cymru, which includes a camera phone picture. The best part is that if you know Cardiff, you know this was taken from a pub. Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the cold weather in DC that shut down the Obama girls' new school? Sasha (the 7-year old) told their dad (the president), and he told the press, that heck, they wouldn't even cancel recess for this back in Chicago, much less school!

Anonymous said...

"That's the way my brain works, picturing boobies is the default setting."

Hey, mine too!

Just kidding. I don't know why I said that.

By the way, there's snow in LONDON, that's why it's big national news. The rest of the UK could be buried in 5 metres of snow and there'd barely be a mention. Except maybe in the 'cute local stories' section in the last 5 minutes. Right after the bit about the water-skiing poodle.

Chris Cope said...

If I ran the news, the water-skiing poodle would be top story...

heatherfeather said...

You should try to dig up a groundhog (you know, figuratively), find a top hat, grow a handlebar moustache and re-create that picture.

Voila, new profile pic.

Unknown said...

I never fully understood Groundhog's Day living in Minnesota. I mean if he sees his shadow it's six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn't it's an early spring. In Minnesota that's the same damn thing!

Huw said...

Transport commissioner Peter Hendy (salary of £200 p/h) stated "we did the best we can", in defence of the collapse of London's transport system. Personally, that is something I would have kept very very quiet.

Pearl said...

I am perfectly willing to come help out. I've got woolen things of various antiquity to keep me warm and I'm an old hand at shoveling.
I will need somewhere to stay. I'm okay with sharing a bathroom.

WV: phoolen
Def.: Unphortunately, I am only phoolen.

Anonymous said...

This line made MichGolden Light come out of my nose.
"That's the way my brain works, picturing boobies is the default setting."

Default? Try - Only setting.