What’s a TikTok that says ‘I’m from Melbourne’ without saying it? I’ll go first: this clip of a man scooting down Chapel St with a heater strapped to his back. Truly, it’s all that lives in my semi-defrosted microwaved brain right now.
Last night I was mindlessly scrolling through my FYP and feeling the cold embrace of death’s breath AKA the soon-to-be Antarctic cold front coming to Australia this week, when I came across this video.
In it, TikToker and Melbourne-based artist Alex Kalafatis (@alexkala_) is walking down Chapel St in Windsor and passes Italian joint Freddy’s, before he spots a mysterious figure riding into the rainy wintery night. A man on his scooter with a portable heater strapped to his back.
He runs after him in an attempt to catch a good look at the hooded soon-to-be cozy individual. But, tragically for us, it seems that the scooter rider is nearing the end of his two-hour-long outside time after nabbing the heater and must zoom back home. At least, that’s what I can gather from this chaotic video.
“I’d just finished dinner with a friend and we had started walking out of the restaurant and onto Chapel street,” Kalafatis explains to PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“From a distance, I saw what I thought was someone riding a bike, but as they got closer and their silhouette became more clear, I started to second guess myself. After realising that what I was seeing was in fact a bloke in a hoodie, riding a scooter with a gas heater strapped to his back, my eyes had to do a double-take to believe what was going on, kind of like what you would see in Scooby-Doo.
“Out of genuine interest to just make convo, I laughed and called out to the scooter guy, ‘bit cold there mate?’ as he passed. He definitely didn’t stop but as he rode off, it was a short and sweet ‘freezing my tits off’.”
This video raises many questions. Who is this man? Where did he get the heater? Did he steal it from his capitalist overlords at a restaurant he works at, or is he part of the 1 percent of the population that can afford to own one? Why is it strapped to his back?
Alex Kalafatis added: “Knowing no-one would believe this story, in an attempt to get any evidence I could, I hit record on my phone and legged it, chasing the heater bandit down the street all for ten seconds of sweet, sweet content. Even if this heater was stolen, to be honest, I’m not even mad… I’m impressed with their efforts.”
Either way, this TikTok has officially declared that it’s winter and with it, potential ice-age crimes. I hope the man seen scooting down Chapel St with a heater strapped to his back is having a warm and relaxing Sunday by his heat machine. Meanwhile, I’ll be here, warming up another packet of soup and dipping my toes in a bucket of boiled water. Yum.