Wednesday, 1 December 2010

La Dame Blanche

I hate winter. It's horrible and cold and messy and racist. Yes, winter is such a white supremacist - look at it!

Winter made it to Switzerland a bit too early. I don't like it because you have to add all these extra layers of clothes, cap, gloves, scarves, carry an umbrella around, put on big and unfashionable shoes and freeze your ass off when you go to the outside world - how can you enjoy this?

You have to think about all these little things before leaving your mansion - even for a small walk to the supermarket! My brain has to constantly be the "active mode" during winter in order to plan my walk outside and get everything right - am I wearing enough clothes? am I wearing too much? Shall I take my umbrella? Will it rain later? Is it windy? Shall I bring my sunglasses? etc. etc. In summer you only wear a t-shirt and don't have to worry about anything else.

This only justifies my theory that (most) rich countries are situated in cold regions and poor countries in warm ones. Because with harsh winters like these, Northerners had to be prepared to get through such rough times. Organise wood for the fire, a resistant roof, food and supplies, heavy clothes, take advantage of the sunny days for agriculture - nothing was taken for granted.

Whereas populations in warm places didn't have anything to worry about. It's always hot and relaxed so they take it easy all year long. They could plant their crops almost anytime, they didn't have many problems, except water related issues but most of these guys settled around lakes and rivers. Heat makes it tougher to work and labour hours were much less strict because what couldn't be done today could be done tomorrow - no horrible winter ahead.

And these habits and traditions are what shaped today's world. "Northerners" are more organised, efficient, strict and calculated people. Everything works (well, it is supposed to) because they think everything through.

Whereas "Southerners" are more relaxed about everything and let things go until the next day (and next, and next, and next...) If something doesn't work, well, they'll fix it after the siesta because now it's too hot to work.

So when you take an Englishman to Mexico, he'll have a hard time understanding why is everything so messed up. Well it's because it's hot and beautiful - and instead of working you should be hanging out at the beach and sipping on your Tequila Sunrise.

When Europeans travel South, they organise and plan everything, as if everything was supposed to work out exactly like in theory. And then they get mad and grumpy when things don't go according to plan. I think they just have to adapt themselves to the local pace and be a bit more spontaneous.

So what does winter bring? Miserable, unfriendly, rigid but organised people?

And warm countries bring you friendly, relaxed, flexible but messy people?

After having lived in Lebanon and then in Switzerland, I have to say that both bring a certain advantage. If there could be a mix of both, that'd be great: reliable and friendly people in an organised yet flexible and warm country. It is hard to get, but not impossible.

I have to admit that snow is nice to look at when it falls. To savour a warm and delicious hot chocolate while looking out the window and admire the poor and homeless struggling to get warmth and shelter.

Well, that's fun for 15 minutes, and then what? I need SUN.

1 comment:

  1. Nice analysis of North/South differences using the weather!
    We are equally freezing our balls in Paris, temperatures are anywhere between 2 and -5. It's actually -5 as I write this. That much cold is really not funny :(