Monday, April 27, 2009

A whiter shade of pale

Have you ever been in Florida or Arizona in the winter months? And have you ever walked past a hotel, snug in your cardigan/jacket/windbreaker, and noticed very, very pale people cavorting in and around the outdoor pool in bathing suits saying things like, “I can’t believe how *warm* it is!”? Those people are Canadians.

I should know. I’m one of them. I remember December 2006, basking by the pool outside a Phoenix hotel while grounds staff wearing long pants and jackets wielded leaf blowers the other side of the ornamental fence. Christmas carols were playing, and my kids and I were jumping in and out of the emerald-green water of the outdoor pool.

Cut off from the sun and subject to subzero temperatures for long periods of time by our lengthy winters, Canadians (especially those like me, who are of British ancestry) on holiday in tropical climes will strip down to shorts or bathing suits as soon as the thermometer creeps above 18°C (66°F) and expose their blindingly white skin to both the elements and the locals with exuberant abandon. This is so prevalent (and we are so very, very pale) that the only way you can see Canadians lying on a nude beach, and avoid stepping on them, is to watch for them to blink. (Not that I'd know about the nude beach from experience, mind you, I'm just sayin'.)

This carries over into our behaviour at home. Long after our neighbours to the south are giving themselves sunburns while gardening, we are shovelling the last patches of snow off the lawn and onto the driveway to get it to melt faster (and believe me, the irony of that situation after a winter of doing it in the opposite direction is not lost on anyone). So when an unseasonably warm Saturday rolls around in mid-to-late April and the thermometer goes up to 27°C (84°F), tradition dictates that we purchase beer, fire up the barbecue, uncover pasty white arms and legs, and let the children welcome the warm weather with the annual rite of spring: the slip 'n' slide.



The sharp-eyed among you will notice that while there is no snow left on the lawn, there are no leaves on the tree yet either.

16 comments:

  1. On the one hand, that looks ccccold. On the other, Britain rarely reaches 27C even in August!

    Could you take Half Baked off your Blogroll? Would be good if you add www.strictlyguiding.blogspot.com instead but I understand if not.

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  2. Hee. Many of my memories of Morocco consist of me being in the pool alone, with Moroccan natives walking past me making that universal shivering/ clutching their arms sign -- which was more polite than the universal 'are you completely off your nut' sign, I suppose.
    Great slip/sliding. Personally I think it's too freaking hot, but I'm happy for the rest of you :)

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  3. Yes true. Canadians and those in New England! I'm sitting here LMAO because we did the very same thing on Saturday because it was 90 here! (And it was 40 on Thursday!)

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  4. A couple more days like that and we can start complaining about the unbearable heat!

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  5. Your kids are quite hardy. Mine would have been wrapped in their heaviest winter clothes and complaining about the bitter cold.

    My sunburn is fine now. Thank you for your great concern.

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  6. Becca6:14 PM

    The girls don't seem to understand the "slip" portion of slip and slide... where is the full speed dive onto one's tummy?

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  7. That looks so fun! I filled up the wading pool for the kiddos today, and I couldn't believe that in the first week of this month I was helping them make a snowman!!

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  8. Our neighbour opened his pool on Sat and while the kids were waiting, they went across the street to the lake. LAKE ONTARIO.
    They were in it.
    Radioactive or not, it had to have been freezing but they didn't care.
    It is truly a CDN thing.

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  9. haha, in the condo complex my inlaws stay in the winter, the locals thought we were all kinds of crazy for dipping our toes in the ocean while they were stormtrooping TJ Maxx for turtle-necks and mittens. it was a bitter 15 C outside.

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  10. Too funny & too true!

    I used to travel to the DFW area in Texas a lot - in Winter the temp can be in the 50's - which for me in slacks and shirt was fine - the locals were all in jackets looking at me like I crawled off the moon!

    Heck - as soon as it was above zero - my 14 year old was wearing shorts to school!

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  11. WOw!! 27 C! That's HOT! Maybe we should consider Canada after all :)

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  12. See that is why I would make a good Canadian! Being Scottish, I fit the description given by Billy Connolly: Scottish people are not white. They are blue. It takes two weeks of strong sunshine before Scots turn white.

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  13. We too opened up the "pool" this weekend past. All 2 feet high of it. It's a real kid magnet too. My surrogate son from down the street came around on Monday asking if we filled it up again ...

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  14. Ah, yes, here in Maine we're not far off from your situation! We've taken Jan. trips to Disney, where my kids are running around in shorts and tank tops, while the locals sport light parkas. Wimps.

    Our leaves are barely starting to peek out here. Finally!!

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  15. I was in Southern California for a conference, and it dropped to a freezing 18C (and was overcast). They were wearing winter jackets and toques (not that they know what those are!)

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