David Moseley

Watch out! It's weather!

2013-06-05 08:28

David Moseley

I always smirk quietly to myself when I arrive at a lamppost, only to read a newspaper poster screaming "Big Freeze Hits City". Yes, I think dismissively of prints ability to maintain readership, it's winter. What exactly where you expecting, newspaper people?

Of course, news sites, much like this one and many others, also lose their senses when "weather" hits, practically demanding shivering citizens to send in their images of hailmen, wee nippers frolicking in the snow or hipsters instagraming the devastation right out of flooded streets.

Intriguingly, in a week that's seen some pretty fierce protesting and police brutality in a seemingly peaceful Turkey (I was there just a few months ago and never would have imagined such scenes), most major news stations are going overboard on the floods in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

"City on river is flooded" shout the almost ironic, yet deadly serious headlines. Really. You don't say. They built a city around a river. What did they think would happen in times of heavy rain?

But I find I'm not immune to this inane curse. Earlier this year, as I was coming in to land on my European honeymoon, Istanbul was blanketed in snow. I've never seen snow like that in my life. I could barely contain myself. Once out of the plane, my wife had to pull out of the street because all I wanted to do was play in the delicate white mush.

Likewise, when the hail crashed down in Cape Town this past Sunday I was torn between throwing a duvet over my car or rushing outside to take photos of the freak appearance of the little ice nuggets. I couldn't stop myself. I had to share it with no one in particular, just like the other nit-twits.

At the same time Robyn was running around the house bellowing "hail! It’s hail" in what I imagine was a manner quite similar to Pompeii residents when the first tiny Mount Vesuvius comets landed. "Fire! Fire from the sky. Lock the doors, get the cat, chisel out a photograph from that rock for granny in Rome!"

What is it that fascinates us so much when the weather goes haywire - which it is fully entitled to do? I'm in agreement that weather appears to be more extreme. But is it that fascinating? Hail? Is that all you have, weather?

Why do we clamour to spread photos all over the social networks, to live tweet weather proceedings or comment on a natural phenomenon that's really not that phenomenal?

Interestingly, I came across a report in the UK's Telegraph, detailing a study on why Britons so enjoy discussing the weather. It notes, "We (Britons) certainly talk about it a lot but this is not because it is an intrinsically interesting topic. Over half of the people we spoke to admitted that they used weather-talk to facilitate social interaction."

Which maybe just goes to show, that we're all as boring as brown rice.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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