The Year Without a Spring

Here we are, almost a month into spring, and the weather is no different than on a typical February day. The temperatures are in the low thirties and it is snowing. If I recall correctly, we are receiving more snow and more cold this April than we did the past February.

Perhaps that recollection is a product of my selective memory; spring is not quite one-third over, yet I’m already remembering this year as “The Year Without a Spring.” Even if temperatures were to jump into the seventies for the next two months, the imprint of a springless year would likely persist in my mind. Such is the nature of a selective memory. I could spend the rest of the day reviewing climate data for February and April disproving my conclusion, yet my stance would not change. I would justify my conclusion by telling myself, “Well, it seems more cold and snowy now than in February.”

I don’t usually hold false beliefs in the face of contradicting facts. As someone with a deep scientific background, I’ll be among the first to accept conclusions which are based on strong supporting evidence. Global warming? Yes, it’s happening. Higgs boson? Yep, it’s there. Flat Earth? Of course not, there is hundreds of years’ worth of data to disprove it. And no, the Moon is not made of green cheese.

But assert to me that the season’s snowfall was average when I remember snow to completely cease after I bought a new snow blower, no amount of evidence you present will make me think otherwise.

Perhaps this tendency is based in my nature to be humorous, to tell funny stories and anecdotes. If I were to assert to a friend, “Boy, the snowfall was seasonally average after I bought my new snowblower,” they would look at me as if I had icicles on the brain. But if I point out the irony of the lack of snowfall after the new blower purchase, they can relate, and share in the amusement. If I say, “It’s snowing more now than in February,” they can empathize and offer a chuckle, rather than be mildly annoyed with me pointing out that sometimes it snows in April, then listing several prior examples.

On the other hand, my friends would think I’m a kook if I told them I thought the world was other than spherical, and our natural satellite was made of verdant dairy products.

I don’t know exactly where I draw the line between knowledge based on scientific principles and data-driven proof, and beliefs based on the value of their humor. But I think it does not stop at weather related phenomena. I like to think certain stereotypes are true – like overweight, beer drinking, hot wings consuming football fanatics – but only when it serves the humor. Depending on the circumstance, a thin, art loving, Armani wearing, foodie NASCAR fan can be more humorous. But I don’t think slanting current weather trends towards the mundane is worth mentioning, much less fertile with humorous potential.

I know one thing is true: no matter how much proof to the contrary you offer me, and no matter how much I know deep in my mind that the evidence you offer up is true, I will not admit that we received more snow in February than we are experiencing this spring. My selective memory has already imprinted one simple fact: As I look out the window, I see it is still snowing now.