Thursday, February 24, 2005


Living in Spain’s central plains has made me a more generous person. And there’s nothing I love sharing more than our weather.

Quite often during the dead of winter, I’ll open my window and marvel at the blue skies, sparkling sun and balmy temperatures. Then, I start making phone calls.

“Hi Anders! What?! There’s a meter and a half of snow in Copenhagen?! Jeez! I’d need to hop on an airplane and fly two hours in order to see THAT much snow.”

“Hi Hanna! What?! It’s already dark in Helsinki…at 3pm?! Jeez! It won’t get dark here for another four hours. Good thing, too…because I’m about to go for a bike ride.”

“Hi Victor! What?! It’s -20ºC in Moscow?! Jeez! If it were that cold here, I’d be wearing my Mad Bomber Hat. But I don’t need it today, because it’s +20ºC.”
Well…the tables turned yesterday, when the Madrid-area suffered—or enjoyed, depending on one’s perspective—its heaviest snowfall in twenty-one years. A whopping two inches of snow blanketed the ground. TWO INCHES! Downtown traffic screeched to a halt, and Madrid’s Barajas Airport cancelled ninety flights.

Surely, the thought of two inches of snow grounding ninety flights—as well as that of my gloveless hand using a VISA® debit card to scrape ice from my car’s windshield—gave my Nordic friends an evil-yet-satisfying chuckle.

Which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that—insofar as generosity is concerned—it truly IS better to give, than to receive.
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