I remember being kind of disappointed the first time I tried to make a snowman. It was the only time, actually, because I didn’t want to suffer the angst of creating another such undignified monster. Basically, it’s not at all how it is in American kids’ movies, where the snow is blanketed so thickly that the snowman practically builds itself – right down to whipping a Dickensian top hat and carrot nose out of thin air.
In Australia, you see, the snow just doesn’t have enough body. You can cobble together a pile of it, but rolling it into a ball to balance atop another ball? Good luck with that. The best you’re likely to come out with is a sort of conical structure with a face. Getting it to 30 cm tall is an achievement, if an underwhelming one. In short, it’s just not that cold down under.
Even so, the way people carry on about the winter temps, you’d think we were in Lapland. Take my neighbourhood, for example. In the Clayton area, home heating and cooling are such hot topics that I often find myself cooking up a tall tale just so people don’t look at me funny. Just yesterday, I told the postman that my ducts were on the blink. I did it to appear friendly, but really I have no idea what a duct even is. Hopefully I didn’t put my foot in my mouth there, or people will start to suspect things.
I do have a heater, for the record. I don’t use it that much, but there’s nothing wrong with an occasional bit of split system heating. Melbourne isn’t exactly in the tropics, is it? It just seems like everyone else is totally nerdy for gas ducted systems with high-tech zoning interfaces, while I’m out here wrapped in a blanket and wondering what the big deal is.
Maybe that incident with the snowman shaped my receptivity to cold. It’s an impressionable time, childhood, and you’d be amazed by how little things like that can take up residence in your perceptual systems.