Maxed Out 

Weather gets a hole-in-one


I blame it on the weather. Why not? Everybody else is. ICBC is blaming higher insurance rates on the weather. They say the unceasing winter, tepid spring, record rains of May and Junuary have driven - pun intended - a spike in claims due to accidents in which road conditions played a starring role. Personally, I think road conditions had a lot less to do with it than people driven to desperation and distraction by the teasingly absent summer, madly searching Expedia for cheap escapes while they should have been watching the wet road in front of them.

Tourism is way down and the various groups whose business it is to keep tourism up are going out of their way to blame everything except the weather. I have no doubt the global recession - everyone in America who still has a job being blessed with underwater mortgages - fear of rogue polar bears and a Canadian dollar that found its strength at the worst possible time all contribute to the dearth of tourists.

But two things are readily apparent. First, regional tourism is down because, well, why come to British Columbia to enjoy really crappy weather when you can stay home in Washington and enjoy crappy weather and a sinking dollar while you wait for the sheriff to nail the foreclosure notice to your front door? And second, the people spending our tourism promotion dollars never learned the old adage about making lemonade out of lemons.

Most of the rest of North America is sweltering through a heatwave. People are dying in the Midwest from the heat; they're being murdered for the ice in their freezers by people whose brains have been turned into fried eggs. And what are the B.C. tourism people trying to sell them? Sunshine! Bright pictures of happy people frolicking in sunshine. The last thing these people want to see is sunshine. Show them pictures of our clouds. Show them the incessant rain, people huddled under umbrellas, wearing fleece in July and bitching about how cold it is. Let them know there hasn't been a day this year anyone in their right mind has turned on their air conditioners... whatever they are. Hell, we'll have to hire more border guards to keep the onslaught orderly.

But I digress.

The particular thing I'm blaming on the weather happened last weekend. Having grown irritable - read homicidal - I decided a change would be as good as a rest. Like most homespun wisdom, that proverb is meaningless drivel. For starters, it was originally meant to suggest a change of work was as good as a holiday. I can just see some fat, jolly factory owner telling his underpaid minions that as they finally rise up in rebellion and toss his fat ass into a steel press. As an aside, an anagram of "A change is as good as a rest," reads, "Ache to resign so sad a saga." I wasn't bored enough to actually figure that out but I was bored enough to notice it when I Googled the stupid proverb to begin with. Whatever; at least it seems to more accurately capture the pointlessness of it all.

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