We are now free (almost), outdoors and back to normal. Bread is freely available. Did we act manically? Is anyone red faced? The beast was real. We were truly snowbound. Emma existed. There was a genuine weather emergency. Why should be be looking a little embarrassed? Our reaction to preparing for the event was great. Our over-reaction in preparing to feed ourselves through the storm was indicative of a nation with an obesity crisis.
I learned a few things about Ireland during this weather event. There were a few things I already knew, but these were compacted (snow pun) by this blizzard.
Excess. We don’t distinguish needs from want at all.
Remember that scene in Mary Poppins where Michael caused a run on the bank over tuppence? (Love This).
Imagine that over bread. White bread. (Wraps and pittas were unaffected). Panic purchasing hit an all time high just as our abilities to take everything in moderation hit an all time low! Gifs and memes were flying and I laughed heartily with the best of them. However, I must say I eventually felt a bit sickly watching and reading about it. I haven’t had a slice of white bread for days. By choice.
Far from famine we are now. There was no way anyone I knew had actually ran out of food in their homes but they just ran low. Pringles, Tayto and chocolate are not necessity but now they were. We are greedy guts and that is all there is too it. I did laugh at the want for white bread. It is like every diet or nutritional advice goes absolutely out the door when snow comes in the window. People wanted bread. Now. White, gluten filled, sugar packed, preservative laden bread. Rice cakes suddenly took a running jump. The nation spoke. The nation ate. The nation bloated. We sent memes. We laughed at our own extremes.
Snowdrifts became a thing. We love looking at the effects of weather as long as they did not harm anyone. The thaw worked fast and dissolved our white prison gaurd swiftly but it had a hard job. Snow drifts were impressively large with some saying they hadn’t seen the like in 70 years. It reminded me of the Old Man in Macbeth.
Community spirit kicks in when there is a weather crisis locally. People who could, got their tractors out and helped every one. There was huge work done in cities to help homeless people get in out of the killer conditions. Everyone talks to every one else when life leaves a status of banality and enters urgency. It is nervous excitement. People love talking. We are enthralled by the event. Irish people LOVE weather. We constantly small talk in the topics and we are well versed on the jargon from ‘mild’ to ‘soft, from ‘black clouds’ to ‘goat hairs’. This is our thing.
Hooligans will manifest from boredom. What was all that with Lidl? Appalling. Looters? Really? Burglaries occurred. Opportunists exist everywhere but what reward could they possibly get from causing wreckage and joblessness?
We are all now weather experts. Just like in 1990 when every elderly lady could discuss the merits and demerits of a Cascarino tackle, we now all know in detail what status yellow, orange and red mean. Yellow: Wear a big coat. Orange: Big coat and a hat. Red: Diets out the window. Let them eat bread. First name terms with all the weather gods. Evelyn. Jean. Martin. Intimately aware of them. We love weather.
We love a trend. We jumped on this storm like well- me I suppose- on a eight pm Creme Egg. We talked and enjoyed and surmised.
Joviality. We are generally a nation of grumpiness with huge smiles for strangers. The first day people could move about became a major social event. We took our girls to the swimming pool. Afterwards, I wanted to go to Tesco for milk for Betsy. She has lactose free. It was an absolutely unexpected adventure. The car park was rammed. The shelves were decimated. The queues were festive in length. Trolleys were packed with ‘neccessities’. People were in fear of (not starvation- far from it) being at a loss of their normal everyday conveniences.
I got the milk. The last blueberries. I purchased a sad, lonely quarter of soda bread, abandoned on a shelf as the masses left it in favour of her white sliced pan compatriots. There was a fevered taste of FOMO in the air, as I really felt every one was watching what the other bought. The instore baker was leaving down rolls and they were being grabbed up just as quickly. My favourite image was of two men in the bakery aisle quizzically looking at a packet of scone mix.
I did buy Creme Eggs. I am part of the nation of greed.
Farms suffer in this weather and I once again saw it for myself. Mr Paper had a tough time over these days. Milk couldn’t be collected. Cows were cold. Cows were still calving. Mr Paper was cold. The shed has a roof for anyone who read When Marriage means SFA. It is still a building site though. Emma and farms are not compatible.
We are the lucky ones. We had electricity, water and food. We got to spend quality time indoors with our loved ones, safe and warm.
At no point were we starving.
The beast has gone and even though the effects are called beastly, I must say not all of them were. In fact, some were just plain lovely. For some it was a nightmare.
Others-like massive greed- were eye opening.
A few were nasty.
But only a few.
I hear the Beast might return. Hopefully our insanity in the face of breadlessness doesn’t. We live with the remnants of The Beast: the good and the bad.