Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Probably the Uniforms

Year Round School Uniforms
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
I keep writing about the cold. I can't help myself. My fingers are numb, a sensation which has the effect of producing a gradual numbness of the creative impulse. I type mostly so that the fingers keep moving and do not freeze solid. But today I believe I finally discovered the source of the mystery which is the national psychotic belief amongst the people of New Zealand that they live in a warm, dry country. The problem is the uniforms, specifically the school uniforms.

I came to this conclusion on my walk this afternoon. I was coming down out of the local hills after my usual 8 km dressed in fleece pull over, sweats, knee high socks, gloves, hats, and considering seriously the addition of thermals on my return to Chicken House. School was just getting out and swarms of Kiwi children filled the streets with shouts and laughter and bare feet.

Still? It's winter, people! It's 8 C and squalls of chill rain have been blowing through all afternoon leaving icy sodden puddles on the sidewalks through which these kids blithely stomp and splash and kick. The kids are wearing the standard school uniform: polo shirts and a pair of shorts for the boys, polo shirts and a mini skirt for the girls. Most of them have their fleece "jumpers" stuffed into book bags to keep them from getting wet and dirty on the walk home. Well by all means! Just wander home with your coats and shoes in your bag to protect them from the freezing rain beating down on your wee brows and the mud from splashing your socks. Never mind that knees and thighs are going blue, noses are red, hair is wet, polo shirts, shorts and skirts alike all sodden and droopy. Thrifty Kiwis one and all, freeze the child but god forbid add wear and tear to pricey shoes and jumpers and jackets and tights.

And these children will grow up to become Kiwi adults who in turn will not look askance at half naked children running through sleet barefoot. These are the hearty people who think insulation is for wimps and only profligate morons need central heat. A nation so thoroughly fueled by fried fish and baked pastry pies need not fear wasting illnesses or lingering colds. It's all just Kiwi as.