Snow and sociology

Bank holidays can be kind of tedious around here. When it’s cold, everywhere’s shut and public transport goes into skeleton mode. When it’s warm, half of the population crowd into the one park in Cordoba, and the other half of the population sit in their cars and queue to leave the city at crawling pace. We’re rapidly coming to the conclusion that we would be better off working on bank holidays, and having a day out when everyone else is back in the office.
Today it is snowing in Cordoba, which is quite unusual. Heating technology here involves lighting the oven. It does sort of work; by lighting the oven and closing the doors, we can wear fewer layers (four) in the kitchen than in the rest of the house (six plus woolly hat). But we are finding ourselves imagining what it might be like if the windows fitted properly and the house heated itself up at the flick of a little switch. Our carbon footprints have never been so virtuous.

From my unscientific observations, I have identified the important difference between Cordoba and Buenos Aires (other than the fact that Buenos Aires is thirteen times bigger than Cordoba, and not snowing). It is this: In Cordoba, when a pregnant woman gets on the bus, an earnest, slightly geeky looking male adolescent about four rows back will automatically offer up his seat. In Buenos Aires, when a pregnant woman gets on the bus, no-one moves a muscle, until a middle aged woman, who also happens to be a standing passenger says in a loud voice “can someone give the pregnant lady a seat”, whereupon another middle aged woman about half-way down the bus will stand up with a “sorry love, hadn’t noticed you”. In my “six months gone” state, I have experienced these little scenarios many times in the last few weeks. I’m sure a sociologist somewhere will have a theory. Meantime, I am happy on two counts: one that chivalry is still alive and well, albeit expressed in different forms; and two that it will have stopped snowing by the time young Bean is born.

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