Here’s the story of shameful peeling, ludicrous heat, and naked printing.
What is the point of a suntan? I mean, I’ve never been overly attracted to a girl with peeling skin. It’s like looking at a painted wall in an abandoned wooden shack. I do ask because it’s been very warm in the UK in the last week. I had to take my jacket off at one point, and I rarely do that. I don’t really like my arms. I hate looking at them. Also, last time I took that jacket off and carried it home I lost it on the bus. I did make an effort to tie it around the strap of my bag, but it still fell off. It’s almost as if it’s trying to get away from me, like everything else. Sniff. 30 degrees in the northeast of England is not normal. I mean, really, this truly is arse-sticking-to-toilet-seat-when-you-try-to-stand-up weather. Thank heavens I don’t have a hairy bottom or that really would be an unpleasant situation for the next person to use the loo…
I decided to throw logic out of the window and headed to the back garden for a few hours in the sun. You see, the problem with Britain is that we’re not really used to the sunshine. A couple of hours in 30 degree heat and you think you’ll be fine. What a clement day indeed. The Sun is high in the sky. The birds are busy tweeting. The noise of the neighbour’s digger beavering away constructing his new mega triple super tall garage like a mallet being repeatedly smashed across your face. Lo and behold, two minutes later, you’ve evaporated 90% of your body’s water, the rest is streaming across you like a waterfall, your skin has gone a lovely shade I shall call ‘alarming pink’, and your hair is so frizzy you look like you’ve just been electrocuted.
No one ever tells you a suntan itches like hell, do they? Sadly, I didn’t arrive at the peeling stage. It’s one of those things we all enjoy, like picking a scab off. You’d never admit to it, but there’s something real satisfying about peeling the dead skin off, isn’t there? We all love to do it, but none of us would admit to it. I particularly enjoy it when you get a real big chunk. Oh, and that noise is lovely. You know, as it comes off. To me, it sounds like using a real old chalk eraser to clean chalk off a blackboard. That’s a reference for the kids…
We’re also not very good at judging weather, are we? The amount of people I saw on my way to work on Wednesday in shorts and summery t-shirts. One fella had a Hawaiian shirt on, and yes, I’m really not kidding. It was like being back in the ‘90s. He even had the vintage shades on to boot. Even I fell victim to the misplaced forecast. They all told us it would be the hottest day in what, 40 years? My arse. Why do we listen to weather forecasters? I haven’t trusted ‘em since they were dancing around on that floating map of the UK they used to have in the Thames. That also happened. I’ve had a very ‘90s week.
Then came the rain. And the hail. And the thunder. And the lightning. Went on for hour after hour, it did. All the roads and pavements flooded. My blue jeans turned black they took on so much water. My thin grey jacket also turned black, and my hair was… well, let’s just say, submerged in a barrel of water for several hundred years doesn’t do justice to just how wet I was. I had to sit at my desk for seven hours with soaking wet jeans stuck to my hairy legs. Heck, I even had to dry my long hair with toilet paper. So you might say, “Well, a woman would take spare clothes.” True. “A woman would also take a hairdryer.” No, she wouldn’t. Nobody would do that. I seriously contemplated spending the entire day in my underwear. But I decided against that in the end because they too were so wet they’d also have to come off. And sure, I don’t work in Curry’s, but I still have to deal with customers. “Hello, I’d like some business cards.” “Certainly, let me just get up and get a quote form.” “Okay, and can I – OH MY GOD, WHY ARE YOU NAKED?” “Oh, have you… have you never been to a naked printing company, before?”
They did try that once, didn’t they? I vaguely remember a television show where the aim was get all the workers to show up to work one day completely naked. I’m not entirely sure why. It does feel very European. I have it on good authority that they have board meetings in saunas in the Nordic nations. Terrible idea, if you ask me. Wouldn’t the paper go all soggy? I know that’s not strictly the point of the saunas, but my logic has un-defenestrated itself and is now back tucked up in its cosy little bed in my mind, with a lovely cup of cocoa and a neat water bottle under its adorable little head. I miss water bottles. They were all the rage in the ‘90s, like terrible British pop bands and Tamagotchis.
Mine died after around 30 seconds, but there we are…
It’s remarkable, really, that, by Wednesday afternoon, it was up from 15 in the morning to around 28. How the hell does that happen? I really thought global warming would give us lovely warm weather all the time, not this hotchpotch of bullshit. You know what, I’m starting to think global warming isn’t as great as we in the north of England have been led to believe…
Mum and dad returned home this week after their five week trip to Australia. It’s their winter. 25 degrees. How the heck is that a winter! I’d love that winter! Mum and dad were the only two people in the whole of Sydney not wearing a jumper. They went to a park a couple times with the three grandchildren. They have barbecues in their parks that anyone can use, so they did. “Why is the park empty?” dad mused. “Well,” said my sister-in-law, “it’s because it’s the middle of winter.” IT’S 25! I would’ve loved it if it were that cold here in England! I remember being in Ibiza once and I walked passed a restaurant with the outdoor seating area surrounded by heaters on full blast, warming up patrons wearing huge coats with jumpers underneath. 35 degrees Celsius. One local said to me, “I just… I don’t know what’s happened to our summer. It’s normally really warm.” Oh, I feel your pain. 35 is just awful. Oh, dear. We had the beach to ourselves. The locals were baffled. It was a fantastic holiday, though. Go somewhere warm but colder than the regional average and you’ll have the place to yourself. And people say I don’t hand out great advice. I mean, sure, all the animals in the zoo in Sydney were hibernating for winter, but, who cares? You’ve seen one monkey, you’ve seen them all. Do monkeys hibernate? I don’t know. I failed biology. Is that biology? I failed English, too…
So I’m sunburnt horribly. I gave it a try. My brain was telling me ‘no’ and I ignored it. Some people say that one shouldn’t hold too tightly to things like logic and order if one is so predisposed. I agree that such a condition doesn’t always work in life. There are moments when you consult your logic and it turns around to greet you with a shrug of the shoulders. I just Google it in that instance, usually. I don’t know why I gave it a try. Everyone else seemed to be doing it and I’ve long said I have no idea what it takes to be a normal human. Everything I do is a simulation of it and none of it comes naturally. ‘Hmm, it’s a sunny day, everyone is in the garden, so I too shall go into the garden. Okay, I’m in the garden. Now what?’ I actually found it quite relaxing, but considering I’m redder than any cooked lobster in history, I don’t think I’ll be giving it another go.
One woman once said to me, “Things like a suntan show others you care what you look like.” I do get that. Women do love a guy who clearly takes care of himself. But I’ve never had a girlfriend nor do I want one. So I don’t really care what I look like or, indeed, what anyone thinks of me. I know I look like a hobo. Well, this is how God made me, so if you don’t mind, I shall carry on looking like said hobo.
A slightly sunburnt one, granted…
Spanish novelist, Carlos Ruiz Zafón (b. 1964), once wrote: ‘Don’t be afraid of being scared. To be afraid is a sign of common sense. Only complete idiots are not afraid of anything.’
Peace Out :|:
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