The Right to Whinge

I am using one of my new, favorite words that I picked up from watching British mysteries on PBS. The word “whinge” means to whine, or complain bitterly and relentlessly (OK I added the latter based on my own experience. The dictionary simply says “to whine.”). In a recent blog I mentioned how relieved we are here in Minnesota that Spring has finally arrived. But this won’t keep us from whinging about the weather. In fact, I do believe Minnesotans take pride in the fact that the weather in this part of the world goes from one extreme to the other in the blink of an eye. It gives us bragging rights. Just last week it was in the 80’s and a couple of nights ago it was below freezing with snow in the forecast and frost on the roofs in the morning. While not that unusual this is remarkable, but it gives us grounds for some good old whinging. We can complain with the best of them. And since when people meet at the post office or the grocery store they don’t seem to have much to talk about except the weather, Minnesota’s weather gives us something to keep us going for several minutes:

Hey, how you doin’?

Great, you?

Great, but how about this weather? Do you believe it?

I know! Yesterday we were playing golf and today we had to dig out the parkas again.

Yeah, don’t ever put them away until late June. I’ve seen it snow as late as Memorial Day.

I don’t think we’re going to have Spring this year: we’ll just go right from Winter to Summer!

You got that right!

And so on. This could easily go on for several minutes, at least. Contrast that with a meeting between two people in, say, Santa Barbara:

Hey, how you doin’?

Great, and you?

And that’s pretty much it. There really isn’t much to talk about as far as the weather goes because it always seems to be the same. At least it was when I spent a month there many years ago. Every day sunny and warm with temperatures in the middle 70’s. Glorious. But boring as hell. And it leaves two strangers with nothing whatever to talk about! Or, more importantly, to whinge about. If these two people don’t drive the same kind of car, didn’t attend the same schools, or the local teams didn’t play last night, they have nothing more to say to one another. I don’t know how they do it! While we in Minnesota can complain about the cold in the Winters and turn about and complain just as loudly and long about the damnable heat in the Summers, where it can reach 100 degrees. There’s simply no predicting what tomorrow will bring. Except that it will bring loud complaints and a quiet sense of pride from those of us in Minnesota who know it makes us tough and we will always have a topic to talk about when we meet people on the streets.

[You probably heard that Willie Manning (yesterday’s blog) got a stay of execution. It does give one hope. Have a great day.  I’m on a break. ‘See you in about a week.]


5 thoughts on “The Right to Whinge

  1. You’ve either been in Minnesota too long (Santa Barbara will grow on you) or listening to Garrison Keilor too much! More likely the former since the later is not possible!

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