You’ve got to love a city where the people don’t go out in the rain. Where previous plans are considered null and void for any more than a passing shower. Where there is no shame in withdrawing from a social engagement at the first hint of thunder. Nearing the end of one of the finest autumn April’s I can remember, this Saturday the clouds rolled in and the rain came down: Nothing spectacular, not exactly a storm, just a bit damper than strictly necessary.
My enthusiasm to sally forth evaporated as quickly as today’s puddles will do, in tomorrow’s morning sun. I think I’ve turned into a porteño. I rang La Doctora. She was still in her pyjamas at 7pm. No “ganas” to go anywhere. Good! Jesus, my architect and creator of all things, may be able to walk on the stuff but there was no way he wanted to get his feet wet. Excellent! Anyone up for a drink? “Ni loco,” was the consensus. Why would you expose yourself to such nastiness? Quite. My feelings exactly!
Of course in England, such an attitude would mean not going out at all or at best counting on five social events a year. It’s not that it actually rains all the time, but it has perfected the menacing grey, could happen at any moment attitude, that would terrify a porteño. Remember, these guys are delicate. Their interactions with psychiatrists are so frequent that most health plans cover 20 visits a year at an incremental cost of about US$ 2.50 a visit. Imagine if they were SAD too, as in suffering from Seasonally Affective Disorder, not just 1970’s rock star fashion disorder.
However there is no doubt that that the rain affects the national psyche of us Brits. We tolerate the smell of wet dog because it is indistinguishable from the smell of damp office worker crowded into an overheated watering hole for an after office beverage. The porteños would have said canine in the salon in a flash and it would emerge perfumed and dressed in a weird costume to protect it from the elements. Long hair was a passing fad in the UK (at least among men), surely due to the unpleasantly effect of soggy locks chilling one down to the cervical vertebrae. The porteños still sport their mullets with pride. Hunter wellington boots became a fashion brand in the UK. Need I say more? The British Bulldog, “grin and bear it” ethos than characterises the true inhabitant of those dank isles, may be entirely derived from the fact that half the time it is an unpleasant event just to walk out your front door.
To not go out in the rain is a celebration! It says, look it may be horrible out there but it won’t last forever or even long. Before you know it there will be a day of bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. It might come with spring breezes, summer humidity, or autumn alpine freshness but it will come. And then we will all say to each other that the day is lindo, hermoso, precioso, and make it an excuse to have a long lunch in the sun because it just might be the last glorious day of the aforementioned season and it would be stupid not to take advantage of it. In fact, if the government here ran the UK, they would probably decree a national holiday every time the sun came out. And still end up with less incomprehensibly justified national holidays than they have here.
Good weather. Yes it’s important.