Friday, March 6, 2009

Autumn starts...wait for it...right NOW!

Queenstown, Late February 2009

While watching the weather forecast on March the 1st, the meteorologist remarked,

"You may be worried that the start of Autumn means the golden days are behind us, but we're expecting conditions to stay warm and mild through the end of April."

This statement may not seem odd to you, unless you realize that there is no corresponding astronomical event on March 1st to mark a change of season. That's right, here in New Zealand, the seasons change when we say they do, with no pesky scientific interference from solstices or equinoxes.

Kiwi Summer officially runs from December 1st to February 28th (or 29th in a leap year, of course), simply because those are the months that encompass Christmas and the school holidays. Funnily enough, the weather through to the end of March when the equinox occurs is usually more warm and pleasant than it is in December - but March 21st is so much less tidy and easy to remember, am I right?

It probably came about in much the same way as the recent daylight savings time change. Before 2008, Daylight savings time in NZ ran fairly close to that of other places, including the States (with the springing forward & falling back swapped, since our seasons are opposite) because it was handy enough to do so.
But one day, a few bright sparks said, "Hey! Nobody likes it when daylight savings time ends, so why don't we extend it for three weeks and get some more sun-filled days?"
The government replied, "Oh sure, why not? But just get together a petition and have enough people sign it so we know the idea is as popular as you say it is."
"No worries, mate." they said.
And within a few short weeks they had gathered the signatures and *poof* three more government-certified weeks of daylight savings.

Perhaps it's not the best example, what with daylight savings pretty much being an obsolete figment of the imagination, but it all just goes to show that the power of a government's "Because I said so" can be put to less sinister use - like fiddling with time.

P.S. Dear Jill H., I apologize for not researching the proper grammatical use of quotation marks and dialogue before writing this entry, but frankly, I was feeling lazy.


Jill said...

I enjoyed the story and was in no way bothered by the use of quotation marks. :)

Charity said...

Oh good. I applaud your desire to keep the English language from devolving into a formless mass of drivel (text speak, anyone?), even if I don't always do my part!