Sunday, 10 January 2010

In the bleak mid winter, booze and pizzas we buy

A few flakes of snow and we’ve all gone mad. As one of the lucky few who works from home, I’m not getting myself into a state of hysteria about the prospect of a terrible commute, or in anticipation of a skive off work. Instead I have the luxury of sitting at my desk as the snow falls, watching the rest of the world deal with it.

Last year’s deluge was so bad that almost all cars couldn’t navigate many of the roads. For the first time in my living memory the roads were taken back by pedestrians as the undisputed supremacy of the motor car was challenged by the sheer force of nature. People, dressed in attire usually reserved for the slopes of the Alps, milled around rolling up the snow, sliding down it and even more shockingly, speaking to one another as they passed. Anyone with a car that could get around was stopping to offer pedestrians lifts to wherever they needed to go. It was almost as though Victorian Britain had fallen along with the snow.

I had some of the nicest days I can remember in a long time. Snow, much like Christmas, brings out a sense of community, kindness and good will to all men. Last February most of London used it to get a day off work, and then it started to thaw and disappear along with the collective benevolence and unprecedented helpfulness people had shown each other.

This time around the cold snap’s got staying power. The latest forecasts suggest up to another fortnight of these arctic conditions with intermittent flurries of yet more snow. And isn’t it interesting to see how things have changed? The first day of the snow, I watched the other members of my locality relishing the day off and walking up the steep hill to the supermarket. Coming back down with only what they could carry, I couldn’t help but notice every carrier bag had booze in it. And a very large percentage also contained frozen pizzas. Half an hour of larking around in the white stuff seemed to be enough for most who then clearly planned spending the rest of the day on the sofa getting tanked and gorging on junk. How truly British of them.

The following day more roads were gritted and public transport seemed to have recovered. Through social networking, I observed the beginning of the griping. Actually it had started the previous day as those supposedly snowed in whined into cyberspace about bosses who had given them work to do at home. How dare they expect their employees actually to do some work on a work day? The cheek of it.

And once everyone had uploaded endless samey pictures of their snowy gardens and them in woolly hats making snowmen, the novelty had well and truly worn off. Now statuses and posts openly whined about the snow. How dare it ruin their plans, stop them going out and getting pissed? Fine when it meant a sneaky day off but as soon as it had the nerve to creep into the weekend, doing totally unreasonable things like cancelling football matches, then it became vilified.

Worse still these morons began to post that they were tired of it. “Snow go away, I’m bored with you now” popped up again and again on my feed. I felt my inner rage bubbling up hot enough to melt any ice.

Are people so stupid and totally self-absorbed that they think their need for constant entertainment is bigger and somehow more important that the weather? I seem to be living among adults who have the attention span of borderline hyperactive children. What amused them for a day is now so boring, so tedious, so yesterday.

I want to scream from the rooftops that the weather is not here to amuse this group of potential ADD sufferers. The climate is something that happens around you. Any insane egotism that leads you to believe your wants and desires are greater than the climate is just that: insane.

So instead of bitching and whining because you can’t go down the local pub to kill off more of your brain cells why don’t you remember the shortlived Blitz spirit? Think about others who really suffering: the elderly too frail to risk going out in the slippery conditions and those shivering because they genuinely can’t afford to turn their heating on, and then consider how selfish and short-sighed your boredom really is. Read more by Rosie.