Today is the day of small things.
I have to get rid of 100 emails from my impossible in-box. I have to visit the dentist. I have to read two books so that I can write 1000 words on them. I have to do six other things that I’ve put off because the last days have been less than merry.
It all has to be finished by close of business.
Why am I being such a Red Queen and running frantically on the sport?
Partly it’s because the financial year ends on 30 June, so everyone in Canberra is running frantically on the spot. It’s one of the interesting side-effects of working in the national capital. Once my friends retire, they lose this deadline fervour. When they’re all retired, this time of year will be a doddle. Right now, however, as someone finishes something, they send me an email and I have to do the follow-up.
Partly it’s because the northern hemisphere is heading for summer and so there are conventions and meetings and other cool things. Someone else’s summer means they want to finish things before they go on holiday. More things get pushed into my in-tray.
I want to hibernate this winter. That’s what particularly cold winters are for. Snuggling in the one place that stays warm, and sleeping until the wind is less icy. Right now, my heaters work overtime to keep my flat’s temperature above 13 (that’s 55.4 for my US readers). Other Australians, strangely cheerful, tell me to put on more clothes, but I am asthmatic and 13 is the trigger point for attacks. If it weren’t for the asthma and my tendency to want to hibernate, this season would be perfect. When I was a child I opened my windows wide and adored the cold night air. Mind you, when I was a child I also wondered why I woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe. I would get up early and dress and go outside and watch for sky spectacle. This is how I saw the Southern Aurora in suburban Melbourne.
I nearly forgot that the cold in Canberra is due to icy winds. The wind that brings beautifully fresh air up from Antarctica (which is particularly chill at this time of year, for so many meanings of the word ‘chill’) blows across the mountains to us. Snowfall began early this year.
Do not ask what the wind chill factor is (only 3 degrees right now, because right now the air is almost still), or why Australian buildings are more built for heat and cold and can be difficult to keep warm. Just ask yourself, “When will Gillian stop complaining?” I shall stop complaining when I’m all caught up, and when my flat reaches 18 degrees C. Neither of these things is likely to happen this week.