Inadvertant Undressing: The Worst Things about Winter

Due to the fact that only Scandanavia has proper insulation in its buildings, Winter for the rest of us involves wearing fifteen layers of expensive, North-face-of-the-Eiger-type clothing. Indoors. Unless you populate the North East of England, where it seems a single cotton layer is sufficient, indoors or out. And since the operation of the HVAC systems in our buildings requires the intellect of a child, who are normally absent from most responsible organisations and whose intellect has evapourated by the time one reaches adulthood, modern office life involves much putting on and removing of clothes.

Which means that, at any one time, several bared torsos, usually hairy and post-Christmassy, can be seen across the open plan office. There are ways by which this corporate flashing may be avoided, but require either a patient and digestively robust colleague or a trip to the bathroom1, both of which are deemed too difficult to contemplate. So we go fast, and hope that no-one notices. The human eye, attracted by movement, instantly locks onto the danger and their owners are treated to the sight of a middle aged man struggling to extricate himself from the several layers of supermarket fleece jacket wrapped round his head.

This is my Number One Worst Thing about Christmas. Are there any others? Oh, yes. So, in no particular order:

1. Having to traipse round rammed shopping centres behind people doing one lightyear per year. It’s not purely a Christmas-related problem, but surely if you’re going shopping, you must have some idea what you want, and which shops might have it. So why prolong the communal agony by doddering around with your head up your arse? Have a plan, people!

2. Having to put some effort into buying presents. Probably a big factor why the above is such a pain. You get to the mall really early, but still spend three hours trying to figure out what to get people. It’s only at this point do you really comprehend how little you know about your family. RocketBootGrandpa has always taken the safe, if soft, option of giving everyone cash. Much less hassle, and no-one is disappointed.

3. Having to see your family. Its great for the first half and hour and it’s only at this point do you really comprehend how little you like your family1. You realise how much you’ve grown apart and how little everyone has really changed, which seems contradictory, but somehow isn’t.

4. Having to maintain your car. Most of the year, you can get in your car and head off somewhere and not worry too much about whether it’ll start or whether you can see where you’re going. In Winter, you have to actually do things before you can leave; check fluids, scrape windscreens, get new tires. And you can never find all the scrapers and de-icer you bought last year, even though you only took them out of the car in August.

5. Having to put up with reams of Chrismtas advertising through your door for the entire months of October, November and December. As if it wasn’t bad enough that we cut trees down at Christmas, we then have to cut more down to post through people’s letter boxes. Then the Christmas tree looks all smug and twinkly; “Hey, fliers! Bet you wish you’d tried harder at Christmas Tree School now, eh?!”.

6. Buying a Christmas tree. Or stealing one, if you happen to see a nice one at the side of the road. You go surreptitiously at night to get it, only to find five cars cautiously circling, all waiting for the rest to leave so they can snaffle it. So much to consider; height, branch density vs decorative level, will it fit in the car / house, attendant insurance premium increase due to risks associated with inadverant Timber! or Pound-Shop-tree-lights-induced inferno.

7. Having to queue for Santas Grotto. Or ‘grotty’, as they invariably are. You queue amidst thousands of bawling infants and irate parents, pay your five pounds, and your child, your pride and joy, then spends their alloted minute in the grotto either destroying the place, spreading the contents of Santas sack evenly pan-grotto, or screaming at the top of their tiny but mighty lungs.

8. January Sales. If the early payment of December’s paycheck didn’t leave you skint in January, the sales will. To misquote Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon, “First they sell you stuff, then they f*ck you with it!”. There is a fundamental human need to get a bargain, even if it’s for something you don’t need. So you get home with nice, weighty boxes, aflush with the joy of participating in the Capitalist feeding frenzy, to discover that you already have half the things you bought, half the rest are some ludicrous luminous colour3 and the remaining quarter won’t work without buying more things that aren’t on sale.

9. Turkey Curry. Its nice on Boxing Day, but gets a bit samey by Easter.

10. Eggnog. What’s wrong with beer?

Any others you can think of? Post a comment.

1 When was the last time you had, or even saw, a bath in a bathroom? Or had a rest in a restroom, for that matter? No, me neither.
2 Don’t fret, RocketBootFamily. Pure journalistic licence. Surely one of the less contentious ends to which journalistic licence has been put.
3 Like Dynorod Orange, which is a trademark, by the way. Which is why I carefully said like.

One thought on “Inadvertant Undressing: The Worst Things about Winter”

  1. “Having to traipse round rammed shopping centres behind people doing one lightyear per year…..why prolong the communal agony by doddering around with your head up your arse?”
    But….one lightyear a year is pretty fast. At least I think so….

    Also doesn’t 2 (the point about how difficult it is to decide what to get once you’re shopping) kind of contradict 1 (the point about people taking a long time to decide)?

    Sorry to always be pointing out these things….

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