Tag Archives: atmospheric pressure

The pressure

Recently a lot of Polish people have been complaining to me about pressure. At first I assumed they were talking about career stress but then I remembered none of the people I know have proper jobs. They meant atmospheric pressure. I’ve never heard another human being comment on the dearth or abundance of air molecules above their head before. “I feel terrible and I couldn’t sleep; the pressure is so low” said one. I boggled. A whole new world of undreamed of and slightly unsettling possibilities opened up before me. “You can actually feel that?” I gaped. “What’s it like? Does it hurt and, more importantly, is it going to start hurting me?”

Earth's atmosphere

The atmosphere. It’s there all the time and probably up to something.

I’ve become a bit paranoid about it now. I lay awake in bed trying to sense the behaviour of the trillions of tons of gasses pressing down on me. It’s all a little unnerving but, so far, I seem to be completely insensitive to barometric variation. As far as I can make out it’s a talent unique to Poles. I’ve certainly never heard a British person comment on the pressure and we spend at least 65 percent of our time discussing weather. This could be my big break. If I take the idea back to the UK and start a blog about pressure I could add a whole new dimension to British weather conversation. I’ll be up there with Darwin and the guy who invented the phrase “It’s too cold to snow.”


Darwin – quite bright but failed to add anything meaningful to the discussion of weather

The only trouble is that I have a sneaking suspicion it’s all a load of bunkum. Surely if it was a real ailment there would be a pill or a powder for it. Actresses pretending to be the mothers of small boys would be hawking the stuff every five minutes while I’m trying to watch Sniper for the nine hundredth time: “When it come to protecting my Tomek from pressure I don’t experiment; Press-o-stop was good enough for my grandmother and it’s good enough for us.” – small boy jumps out of airplane followed by beaming mother and grandmother in wheelchair.


Tom Berenger and some other bloke in Sniper. This film is on more often than the news in Poland.

I’m intrigued and a little afraid of what other hidden talents I may uncover the more Polish I understand. “Cholera jasna these fluctuations in zero-point energy count are playing havoc with my bowels this morning!” “I know, and I still haven’t gotten over that dreadful gauge boson storm yesterday.” “Oh I’m a martyr to it…” etc. It may turn out that Copernican cosmology was simply an elaborate explanation for a throbbing headache.


A 16th-century Polish pamphlet on nagging headaches and their cause

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