Friday, 19 December 2014

19/12/14 - Let it snow! (Maybe, if you want)

Snow’s rubbish, isn’t it?
Er, no, it isn’t. It’s brilliant. Or is it?
Well, it’s both, and neither. Allow me to explain…

Winter, you see, is crap. It’s really quite cold outside, it’s dark most of the time, it rains more, it’s generally just not very nice. And it lasts for an unfeasibly long time too. You have to stick the heating on, so your bills go up, and your car will be bombarded with steel-chomping grit from council lorries. Your house’s doors and windows will warp and expand/contract, meaning creaks, draughts, and having to slam things really hard. Winter, on the whole, is just plain miserable.
That’s why Christmas is such a celebrated and brilliant thing. It’s the shining beacon in the middle of a crappy season – imagine how hopeless and bleak winter would feel if it didn’t have that glimmering, tinselly focal point. It’d just be five months of thick jumpers and gloom.

One of the key crapnesses of winter is the weather. Obviously. And the crappest of the crap – the ultimate iteration of seasonal meteorological grimitude – is snow. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s perilous underfoot, it gets in your eyes - and when it melts, it leaves everything dirty and ensures a frightening abundance of meltwater sloshing everywhere, flooding kitchens and overwhelming drains. How could this possibly be seen as a good thing by anyone with even a pair of low-functioning brain cells to bang together?

Aha, it’s the Christmas effect, of course. Inextricably intertwined with the gifting season is the notion that everywhere will be swathed in clean, beautiful snow. And to be fair, it is beautiful – as long as you’re looking at, say, a thatched country cottage with holly bushes in the garden and a pillar box at the gate, rather than the grey, slushy pavement of Waterloo Bridge after three thousand people have stomped through it.

We like Christmas. (I’m generalising here but, frankly, if you’re one of those boring anti-Christmas people then I don’t think we can be friends.) Ergo, we like snow. Snow is Christmas’s friend. And so it’s become one of those things that people love and get excited about, despite having absolutely no logical reason to do so – like sudoku or Wimbledon. Yes, it’s fun to throw snowballs, build snowmen, go tobogganing down pristine white slopes, and feel that glorious crunch of freshly fallen snow underfoot, but it is essentially just really cold rain that makes your clothes all sodden and chilly.
Such is the ambivalence of the modern psyche. Snow is basically a metaphor for the human condition. Maybe. Or something.

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