Reflecting on Minnesota’s weather this morning (as Minnesotans are wont to do at intervals throughout the day), I realized that if and when I move away from my beloved North Star State, I’ll have to readjust the manner in which I approach reacting to climate conditions.
If Discovery’s breathtaking show North America has taught me anything, it’s that our continent is home to wigged-out bipolar weather patterns. Minnesota is no exception to this rule (as slub Kat pointed out in her weather post a few winters ago), a reality which has turned many of us people in the Land of Sky-Tinted Water into something of weather elitists. I’m aware of believing, at times, that Minnesotans have the market cornered on strange atmospheric phenomena; still, the rational side of me understands that every person feels as though their state has seen the craziest shit out there by far.
My personal situation may lead me to move to North Carolina at some point in the future – a land of rich and varied geography whose climate differs markedly, in many ways, from Minnesota’s. With this in mind, I’ve collected a list to remind myself of the many ways that I, as a Minnesotan Yank, can strive to be weather-conscious around North Carolinians and Southerners in general.
1. Respecting daylight hours.
I will: go about each day accomplishing great and productive things and contributing as a whole to society, regardless of when the suns rises and sets.
I will not: directly correlate the amount of time I spend in my pajamas to the amount of time I can see the sun. I will not cry tears of joy when the light comes early to the North Carolinian landscape on the Winter Solstice and lingers brightly for a full 9 hours and 47 minutes, as opposed to barely glinting for a measly 8 hours and 46 minutes in the Minneapolitan tundra. Neither will I cry tears of sorrow when those same warm rays bid adieu to Charlotte after 14 and a half hours of sunlight on the Summer Solstice, but stick around 15 and a half hours strong to party with Minnesota.2. Taking advantage of available natural resources.
I will: actively enjoy the nautical opportunities afforded by the three significant and beautiful bodies of water in Mecklenburg County: Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, and Mountain Island Lake.
I will not: turn into an urban water snob and bring up Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake Independence, Medicine Lake, Lake Minnetonka, or any the other 90 or so bodies of water in Hennepin County…at least, not too often.
3. Being sensitive to the “cold”.
I will: listen with polite silence, if not complete empathy, if a Southerner compatriot mourns her chilly fingertips when the temperature dips into the 30s on a particularly cold winter day.
I will not: scoff at her pain, inform her that she doesn’t know real cold until she’s experienced tear-frozen eyelashes and crystalized bones after laboring to free her vehicle from its snowdrift grave on a -50° windblown morning, and haughtily throw a pair of thickly lined gloves at her unprepared feet.4. Remaining cognizant of social norms.
I will: bring up the weather and its peculiarities when the topic is of particular saliency and I feel my listener would be open to exchanging a few words on the subject.
I will not: discuss atmospheric occurrences with anyone I meet – stranger or friend – with a vigor normally reserved for more globally accepted conversations, like sports or politics. In almost every other part of the nation, commenting on the weather is a way to create risk-free small talk when you don’t know someone well enough to analyze Desiree’s choices in Bachelorette man candy. In Minnesota, however, bringing up the weather is a signal that you’d like to have a deeply personal discussion with another individual on a topic of intense mutual interest to you both, and that you expect, in the course of the lengthy conversation, to cover your feelings about the temperature, the current state of your vehicle, your epic journey in venturing from Point A to Point B, and whether or not your house still has power.
5. Preparing for the heat.
I will: recognize that, in moving south of the Mason Dixon, I have now resigned myself to ridiculous humidity and suffocating heat on a regular, consistent basis. I will thusly approach summertime dress and activities like an enlightened adult.
I will not: mention to my Southern friends that Minnesota can get pretty sticky and unbearably hot once in a while too, because I’m sure their heat-hardened souls will dismiss my long-winded weather stories as they pour SPF 80 sunscreen on my head and leave me to sizzle on the frying pavement.When the time comes, wish me well, my fellow Minnesotan brothers in arms.