I'm in the mood to barbecue today.
Please note, especially those in the GMT, I didn't say it's time for a barbecue. I won't be wearing a quippy apron. I won't be calling friends and family over and gathering sausages and chicken wings by the metric ton. There won't be cases of cold beer at hand, a collection of nieces, nephews and preteen neighbours playing tag.
I'm just cooking outside.
This seems to be a strange concept around here. People just don't cook outside for the flavour or because it's already too hot inside. It has to be an event, a celebration. Maybe it has to do with the local obsession with sun, some sort of anti-rain dance. So instead of a light meal for a hot day, there is a feast, usually scorched to somewhere between "Cajun style" and "extra crispy."
I've never been a sun worshiper, and I don't think of sunlight as rare, so I don't value it in the same way as my neighbours. As long as the glare doesn't make me squint too much, I'm fairly indifferent to the sun, but given the choice, I'm just as likely to stay indoors. Today, barbecued burgers sound good, so I'll make them outside, but we'll still be eating at the dining room table.
I've also barbecued in the rain and the snow. Just in the mood.
I get asked about my impressions on the local weather from time to time. Usually, it comes out something like "Do you find the weather very bad around here?" Every single time, my answer disappoints. "Not really." Sorry, folks. It's a little bit damp and cool. Sometimes, kind of grey. The weather here is usually mild and rarely dangerous.
Since moving here, weather hasn't been a serious concern. A thunder storm is unusual here; I couldn't tell you how many years it's been since I've seen lightning, an actual lightning fork, not just some flicker over the horizon. I don't have to deal with droughts, killer heatwaves, tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards. I haven't had to chase my garden shed across the street or pull the car over because the wipers can't keep up with the waterfall running down the windshield. I haven't lost electricity because the power plant can't keep up with all the air conditioners.
I'm stepping on some toes by saying this. It's almost like attacking the national identity. But cool and grey isn't bad weather, just a little dull. Today, for instance, it's warm and humid and the sky's somewhere between slate and gunmetal. Not a great day for a party, but it'll do just fine for barbecue.