Sunday, April 24, 2011

Always Take The Weather With You

I've invented a new word. Meteosnobology. This is a whole new discipline of meteorological psychology, one by which weather is used as a form of one-upmanship, whether conscious or existing in the sub-conscious. The meteosnobologist is one driven by the principle of dissonance, and he or she can also be categorised as suffering from O.C.D. - obsessive climatological disorder.

Having invented both the word and the discipline, I did wonder if either actually existed. There is psychology of the weather, of course there is, though possibly not as I have now conceptualised it. As for the word, it doesn't exist; not according to Google at any rate. As an alternative, I tried "weather snob", and got no further than an entire website by the name. What appeared to be distinctly relevant, as in it says it is for the "weather obsessed", turns out to be something through which you can purchase all manner of gadgetry that tells you what the weather is. Obsessed? You can be.

In future years, weather psychologists will be able to discern when the concept of meteosnobology was first raised. Easter 2011. In Mallorca. The scientists will be able to explain that the concept was invented owing to the fact that the weather in Mallorca was complete pants; "pants" being, of course, a meteorological term. They will also, through the study of weather records, be able to ascertain that, at the same time, the UK was enjoying Mediterranean conditions.

To cut to the chase. Let's take dissonance, which is the state under which competing ideas conflict in someone's mind. How do you combat it? The meteosnobologist is confronted by just such a problem, one compounded by location, Mallorca in this instance. Weather in Mallorca is rubbish; weather in Britain is brilliant. The simple way of dealing with it, assuming you are on holiday in Mallorca, is to just accept the situation and make the best of a bad job, but the meteosnobologist goes further. Mallorca's better, even if the weather is pants.

This is complete garbage. People don't come to Mallorca for rain, regardless of how good or better the island may be. They certainly don't come if they know that when it's raining in Mallorca it's going to be 28 degrees back home and they can get the barbecue out. Why go to the bother? Overcoming dissonance demands that a justification is made for what has turned out to be a lousy choice, and the justification is that the UK is pants, despite the good weather.

Why is that prospective visitors to Mallorca constantly ask the question, "what's the weather like in such or such a month?" They ask it not in the hope that the reply will be that it's rubbish. They hope, expect it will be the opposite. It's why they come. End of.

Then there is the one-upmanship. It is, one suspects, largely unintentional, but there can be an element of the boastful that the meteosnobologist displays, especially when it comes to temperature. In a way, the same principle of combatting dissonance, a need for justification, is at play. Out comes the sun, and bingo: "Look at that thermometer, it's reading a hundred (or 37.8 to be more up-to-date)". Of course it is, if it's in the sun. You would get some similarly distorted measure in the UK. And the distortion can be huge. 24 celsius in reality; in direct, radiated conditions, it can be up to 40. It's a nonsense of exaggeration, with one meteosnobologist eye on the Mallorca's better gauge and a disregard of the danger to health were it really 40.

But more than all this is when weather gets personal. This is when the meteosnobologist actually begins to lose it. There's still the justification angle, the Mallorca is better one, but it assumes an altogether greater edge when the British media start gloating that it is hotter in the UK than in Mallorca. And why shouldn't they gloat? The weather is normally pants in the UK, so when it isn't and it's better, then go for it, I say. But when they do go for it, the meteosnobologist response is along the lines of the normal "paradise island" guff, so yah, boo, sucks to you, UK. It is utterly absurd.

However, maybe it isn't so absurd. There's the other aspect of the meteosnobologist, the O.C.D. We all, every single one of us, suffers from it. We are obsessed, and with very good reason. The weather affects us all. Most of what we do is influenced in some way or other by the weather. It affects our moods, even if it means we take the weather personally and irrationally, like we would a driver who cuts us up on the road. It affects us to the extent that we need to boast about it, to look to justify it. We do so because, yes, we are obsessed, and because we always take the weather with us.

Any comments to please.

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