People in Ontario are afraid of the weather

I moved out East to get my Masters and it has been an interesting adjustment.  Having grown up in the prairies, the weather is often the central topic of discussion.  And having the father that I did makes me part meteorologist, part cloud specialist and part weirdo thanks to the inheritance of the obsession of predicting the weather.

At a very early age my dad taught me about the sky.  I learned about the clouds, which produced rain or snow and which ones signalled a change in temperature or season.  I am not First Nations, though sometimes I think my dad wishes that we were. Then he could have named me Cloud-Dancer or Wind-Whisperer, I think he secretly wishes his name were One-Who-Runs-With-Dog-And-Stares-At-Sky.

The people here rely solely on the forecast to determine their day, it is as though they have never craned their necks upward to see the thing that makes the weather.  Perhaps that is why they fear the weather, they have never come face to face with it from 24 kilometres away. They've never seen a storm rear its head from a half a day's journey and put money on when they think it'll hit.

I'm not certain why it is, but they are simply terrified of the weather.  I know this because on my way to visit my sister (about a three hour drive) all I heard on the news was that the temperature was going to drop from three degrees to minus ten through the work day.  Minus ten! They were broadcasting on every station like it was a terrorist attack.  And tonight, I checked the weather online and a large red banner appeared over the forecast saying Rainfall Warning In Effect.  It is March, the temperature hovers around the freezing mark. Though you would think that common sense would prevail and people would understand that it is early March so this rain has the potential to turn to ice, it doesn't compute.  People must be severely warned and even scared into staying in their homes over night until the apocalypse is over and the clouds have been raptured back to wherever it is that they came from.

Sadly, having a conversation about the weather has proven to be a bit of a challenge in Ontario because it has to be a cataclysmic event to make it into conversation.  They do not talk about what the sky looks like or make inferences about what the day or week will hold, only what they have heard on the radio, or seen on the news.  And in order to make the news, it has to be a big story, so three centimetres of rain has to be a big deal otherwise it's not worth discussing.

I wonder if, come summer, the news story will be the catastrophically calm day.

Perhaps being from the prairie it is simply a different way of life.  The weather is not news, it is a person that everyone in town gossips about, everyone knows her, and she's your neighbour so you have to get along with her or leave.  I have even heard of the weather being compared to a woman PMSing.  That said, I've been scared of some women PMSing, so maybe I am being too harsh on Ontario.

That's all.


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