Monday, December 22, 2008

To BBQ or not to BBQ? What the hey, it's Christmas!

With Christmas rapidly approaching, the rest of the universe seems to go onto the back burner. Makes me wonder, often, what Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others are doing, while the western world apparently goes bonkers for a couple of weeks. They don't seem to mind. I guess they get a couple of days off work in the middle of the week, which is nothing to be grumbled about!

The rest of the brewhaha ...? Well, a lot of trees get the hell decorated out of them. Fake snow gets plastered all over a lot of surfaces that are so sun-hot, they'll burn your feet, never mind your fingers. Everything goes red and green and glittery (except the landscape, which goes brown and burned and dusty), and the stores fill up with wrapping paper and tape and ribbon -- also beer, wine and spirits. Pork and turkey. Mince pies and plum puddings.

Imagine being a Taoist from a hermitage in the mountains of a far distance province, being teleported into the middle of Rundle Mall on Christmas Eve, and trying to make sense of anything that's happening around you.

It's an interesting time of year, downunder. The imagery is trying to pretend it's FREEZING, while the truth is, you spend most Christmases in your "singlet, shorts and thongs," trying not to dissolve into a puddle of sweat.

And then, in June ... well, it's as dim and dark as it ever gets in this neck of the woods (which a northerner would say isn't very), and wouldn't we just love to have the bright lights and the shiny things, and the dinners and ...?!

There's actually a group of radicals who book a ski lodge for a weekend in July over in the Snowy Mountains, and put up the Christmas trees, have a massive Christmas feast catered. The rest of the country looks upon them as harmless lunatics, but --

I put it to you: who's loonier? The person putting on the fur-trimmed hat and boots, and "egging the nog," and roasting the turkey, lighting the fire and so forth in the dead of winter ... or the person climbing up a ladder and giving himself sunstroke in a desperate effort to get the fake snow on the roof and the fake icicles along the eaves, before the day gets hot enough to fry an egg on the hood of the car?


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