Friday, October 15, 2004

You can't beat Wellington on a fine day; on a bad day, you can't even SEE it


You could be forgiven for thinking this is a pretty blank shot. You'd be right. This is the view out the window today, courtesy of God
™. Normally, there would be a city bordered by the Cook Strait and a lot of sky. Not today.

Weather is a big topic for Kiwis. It's right up there with the All Blacks and the Gum'mint as subjects to trade comments on over the water cooler/chardonnay/beer/bong. Maybe it's because they are all so damn fickle in their performance.

Don Brash was asked after his Orewa speech what it means to be a New Zealander. His answer was less than satisfactory. He could have pointed out that one quality of New Zealnders is that we have a fatalistic view on climate. Crowded House wrote "Four Seasons in One Day" out at KariKari, west of Auckland. There's a saying in Wellington, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." Kiwis accept change as inevitable. A lot of this stems from the weather.

Non-Kiwis have difficulty wrapping their heads around it. An ambassador once likened New Zealand women's dress sense to combat soldiers. He didn't note that, like combat soldiers, New Zealand women have to be prepared to negotiate a range of climates, usually at short notice. A few years' ago I was picking bananas in Innisfail, one hour's drive south of Cairns in Tropical Queensland, Oz.
Every day was fine, 28 celsius, light breeze. The locals couldn't understand my constant banter on the fine weather. To them, it was like saying, "The sun's up." Big deal.

With those thoughts in mind, even a dull crappy day like today has its benefits. I think of it as organic smog.