My fingers hover over the keyboard, hoping for inspiration. I’ve got a blog to write, I tell myself. Ignore the heat, other countries don’t make such fuss about thirty degrees C. Well no, but what about eighty seven degrees Fahrenheit? Now that’s a little different, surely.
I am old enough to be more familiar with the old degrees-F, and to make instant associations about the ambiance they imply in a way that I cannot for Centigrade. For instance, at my secondary school we had an outdoor swimming pool where the rule was, if the water temperature reached fifty degrees, (I mean F, obviously) we went in.
Sitting in this sweat-box of an office, that sounds tempting right now, but I remember the icy reality of slipping into that water and after a quick ‘warm-up-splash-about’, standing around getting instructions from the sadists who were in charge of games as our bodies shuddered with cold and our teeth chattered. There were hot summers when I was growing up, but I don’t remember them ever starting during term time.
Illogical as this may seem, for me, ten degrees Centigrade sounds chillier than fifty degrees Fahrenheit. And yes, I did do some maths and physics at school, and do have a couple of thermometers with both sets of readings on. So in theory, I understand that I’m being irrational, yet mention a temperature in Centigrade and I am, for a moment, flummoxed. I don’t seem to carry a store of associated memories to latch the numbers to.
Why am I writing about this?
Perhaps because we were talking about thunderstorms last night. One of the men was describing his shock at being asked by another man if thunder really was caused by two clouds banging together.
‘An adult,’ he said, ‘and he honestly didn’t have a clue. He still believed what he’d been told by his gran. Can you believe that?’
I could and I couldn’t. I saw that this was a moment when truth would seem stranger than some fiction, but I also thought that for one adult to ask another, ‘Is it true about thunder?’ implied trust and respect.
Writers often tend to gather up snippets of information on cloud formations, or weather patterns, or theories about the real identity of the Jack the Ripper, and stories and anecdotes told of and by our friends and neighbors. I’ve been a gleaner of information as long as I can remember. Some of it is written, a lot remembered and phenomenal amounts have drifted to the back of my consciousness.
I came across this quote from Eudora Welty the other day.
I didn’t admit at the dinner-table the other night that I couldn’t remember how thunder was made either, I waited for the repeat of the explanation that had been given. Had someone told me before? I think so, but how much more interesting the information was when it came in the form of a story.
photo credit thermometer: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/olibac/2983779842/”>OliBac</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit lightening: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamil_szewczyk/2636013224/”>kamil.szewczyk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>