Do we stop playing because we grow old, or do we grow old because we stop playing?
Actually, we grow old because of the continual deterioration cells within our body, occurring over a span between two points in temporal space measured by an arbitrarily defined and implemented calendar system.
But aside from that, one of the times you know that your inner child has well and truly kicked the proverbial bucket is when you awake early in the morning, blearily rubbing your eyes and staring out of your bedroom window, to be presented with a view of a countryside turned bright white. The virgin snow lies pristine and fresh in the morning, crisp and perfect with an inviting charm, and your first thoughts are not that of excitement and wonder, but dread and despair.
As a child you would see a world transformed, a world of excitement and exploration. As an adult you realise you are, effectively, trapped. Miles from any town and all routes of transportation impassable, you realise that you are completely cut-out off from civilisation.
Well, actually we have telephones and radios and TV and the internet now so I guess that isn’t true. And the house is pretty well stocked up so there’s no trouble there. And, of course, on a clear day you wouldn’t be going anywhere anyway. But now that you can’t, you feel the need to. Maybe it’s something to do with a primitive fight-or-flight mechanism that we are hard-wired to feel anxious when we are forced to stay in one place. Maybe logic just takes a back seat when your brain is hell-bent on trolling you at every available turn.
Of course I immediately regretted the decision to leave my Christmas shopping until the last-minute. All of those excuses I fed myself about waiting to get essays done, and how I had been under too much stress at the time all start to seem suddenly very silly indeed in the face of the bigger stress presented by this veritable conundrum of logistics. Town is miles away. My car will never get down that snow-covered hill… hang on, where IS my car? Oh, it’s that large looking snow drift over there, or rather it is inside it somewhere. I hope. Well, that’s not a good sign. Not getting anywhere in that.
I guess the one consolation is knowing that probably no shops are open anyway. But with only a week to go until Christmas, and with all of my shopping still left to do, I am feeling more than a little foolish.
I should have known this would happen. I’ve seen enough films that I should know better – leaving things to the last-minute is always a bad plan, doubly so at Christmas. Of course, if this was a film then a series of bizarre circumstances and hilarious hijinks would ensue. Everything would go wrong for the first half, until I realise that Christmas is about love and family and that all of those other things which had gone wrong weren’t important at all and it all pulls together nicely into a heart warming scene at the end. Probably everyone is standing around the tree, an open fire blazing, whilst the camera pulls out and upwards away from the sitting room window, rising up to show an idealistic scene of a snow-covered patch of suburbia whilst saccharine holiday songs play over the end credits. Of course in reality there would just be a lot of awkward silences; a shaking their heads mental notes are made to strike you from the Christmas card list next year.
Not that I believe I have any grounds on which to complain. I pity the poor sods nervously checking announcements on public transport operations as they try to return home to their families for the holidays. At least I have been stuck in the right place. Maybe next year we may wise up to the fact that we have been blind-sided by snow for three years on the trot now, and all be slightly more ready for it, but I’m not getting my hopes up too much. And besides, when all is said and done, snow is still fun.