Only city slickers whinge about the heat
You might not be aware of this, but the country has been going through a bit of a heatwave lately. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know - everyone’s been pretty quiet about it. I didn’t even realise myself until I opened a window the other day and felt a burst of unusually warm air. “Why has nobody mentioned this?’’ I thought.
Obviously, I’m joking. For the past week you haven’t been able to turn on a TV or radio without hearing about how it’s hot, it’s really hot, it’s probably going to get hotter and then it’s going to keep being hot for a while. And also that it’s hot.
It’s a talking point, I agree. Nothing stimulates conversation between strangers like a string of days over 35, particularly when those strangers are stuck on an overheating bus. A heatwave brings us all together (which is a bit unfortunate because everyone is sweaty and sticky and we should probably be getting as far apart as possible, and then having cold showers), and a ``mega heatwave’‘, like the one the nation is currently experiencing, is even more unifying.
It’s been so severe the Bureau of Meteorology had to add a new colour to its weather maps to show temperatures above 52C.
It has sparked bushfires in several states, broken historic temperature records and sat across the entire country for weeks. It’s as if Satan himself had decided to use Australia as his armchair.
If there’s ever been a heatwave worth complaining about, it’s this one.
And yet, I’ve always found it funny the way we Australians go on about the heat every summer as if it’s something unusual.
We get particularly excited when it’s hot for more than one day in a row, as if that’s not exactly how the season is supposed to work. In fact I’d say that’s actually the definition of summer: hot for more than one day in a row, for about 90 days.
Basically we live in a desert, and we get annoyed when it’s hot. This is rather like getting angry at the ocean for making your bathers wet.
Well, I say “we”. Really I’m talking about city dwellers like me, who whinge about the heat even though their only exposure to it is walking from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned office and back again.
You don’t hear the good folks of Oodnadatta, who have sweated through 10 days of over-40 degree temperatures, complaining when their ice cream melts. They’re built of sterner stuff out there.
While we in the city complain about having to spend 20 minutes on a stuffy bus, some kids in the country are travelling for kilometres on un-air conditioned buses only to sit in un-air conditioned hotboxes pretending to be classrooms.
People in Coober Pedy probably throw things at the TV when they see news reporters doing live crosses from Glenelg beach, talking in serious tones about the “soaring temperatures” while families happily splash about in the background.
Speaking of which, does anyone get more excited about heatwaves than TV news reporters? They leap at the chance to work a weather angle in to every story, which they present while standing in front of swimming pools, even if they’re talking about interest rates.
I even saw someone on Channel 10’s The Project last week promoting magic show “The Illusionists” as a “great way to beat the heat’‘.
Who do they think they’re talking to, the Trumps? I might be wrong, but I don’t think anyone paying more than $70 for a ticket to The Illusionists is going because of the air conditioning.
There are obviously more economical ways of keeping cool. Fortunately, people on TV love to tell us about those too, every summer, as if we’re all complete thickos.
Drink lots of water! Turn on your air conditioner! Wear light clothing! Avoid strenuous exercise outside! Seek shade!
They actually find professional spokespeople to tell us this, every year. I don’t know why. Are there peopleout there wearing jumpers and overcoats doing star jumps in full sun wondering why they’re hot who need to be told this information? Should we remind them to keep breathing in and out as well, and to eat food occasionally?
Wherever they are, I bet it’s not Oodnadatta.
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