For some reason, we feel we don’t deserve decent weather

Bill Packard: Talk of weather brings up another aspect of Maine living... suffering

Fri, 07/19/2013 - 9:30am

We have, at the most, 10 to 12 days a year that are really hot. That’s it. Just as soon as the hot weather arrives, the New England Power Grid warns us to conserve power by not using our air conditioners unless absolutely necessary. What is up with that?  Something is wrong with this picture. The few hot days of the year and we don’t have enough power to supply the air conditioners that have been gathering dust for 11 months? It’s kind of like winter in reverse. Don’t be surprised if it snows because it’s winter and it’s snowed every winter in Maine forever. There’s going to be a few hot days next summer. Maybe now would be a good time to start planning ahead for the power instead of declaring a crisis next July.

For some reason we feel that we don’t deserve decent weather. If we have beautiful weather, we’re unhappy. If we’re in the middle of a blizzard, we’re proud to be suffering. An early, pleasant spring will bring comments of“We’ll pay for this this summer. Probably rain every day.”

What in the world would we do if we had a month of hot weather? I wonder if they tell people in Las Vegas to leave their air conditioners off all summer because it’s too hot for the power company to supply enough power?

I have a friend in Arizona who moved there from New England. She says the biggest difference between the two places is that in New England she checked the weather all the time and in Phoenix she pretty much knows what it’s going to be every day. Sunny.

Weather is a big, big deal in Maine. Forecasts are especially important. The weather forecast is a very important discussion topic. Weather forecasts are a major part of our complaining. Say it’s a beautiful, sunny day but there’s a chance of rain five days from now. Instead of enjoying the day, most of the talk will be about the expected rain in five days.

“It’s nice today, but you just wait until Tuesday.”  

As the discussion goes from person to person, nobody wants to be outdone so a forecast of possible afternoon showers can quickly become a severe flash flood warning. This brings up another aspect of Maine living: suffering.

On that same sunny day, if you were to comment on what a beautiful day it is, you very likely would get a reply of something like, “We’ll pay for this.” 

For some reason we feel that we don’t deserve decent weather. If we have beautiful weather, we’re unhappy. If we’re in the middle of a blizzard, we’re proud to be suffering. An early, pleasant spring will bring comments of, “we’ll pay for this this summer. Probably rain every day.” 

Beautiful fall weather with crisp clean air and clear skies is cause for “we’ll pay for this, this winter. The Farmer’s Almanac says 6 feet of snow and freezing weather up ‘til St. Patrick’s Day.”

Another odd thing about weather discussions in Maine is that everyone has to be superior. If I had an inch of rain in my rain gauge, my neighbor had an inch and a half. If it was 85 degrees at my house, someone will have 90. If I had 6 inches of snow, someone will have 8.  Of course that works both ways. I’m going to have more snow and rain and I’ll be hotter and colder than my neighbor. This is a very important part of the suffering. Let’s take the example of the 6 inches of snow. Once my neighbor announces his 8 inches of snow, I’m the loser. I can’t change my story, so my neighbor beat me. I’m then a victim. They key is to hold back and let the other person go first. This can be a very valuable lesson for folks who have recently moved here. If people don’t understand this, they can quickly become a full-time victim and begin to feel really badly about themselves.  They lose every weather contest and weather contest depression can sink in. You have to understand and analyze the game in order to become successful, and you’re up against professionals.

To the untrained eye of the visitor from away, it may seem like a beautiful, perfect day, but we Mainers aren’t going to be enjoying it. Not us. We’re looking at the long range forecast and talking about a big blizzard predicted for six months from now.


Bill Packard lives in Union and is the founder of  He is a speaker, author, small business coach and consultant. 

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