Getting hot under the collar about the ‘lovely’ weather
I understand that people are just trying to be polite. Establishing common interests is one way of making a connection with professional acquaintances. If, however, I receive one more email that begins “Hope you are enjoying this lovely weather” (or some similar construction) I may find myself running amok with a lethal weapon.
Too many people are regarded as crazy for holding perfectly reasonable views. People exist who still regard Leonard Cohen’s ditties as music for 1970s baby-sitters. Some perfectly sane, politically sound folk have never found Bill Hicks’s bellowing in the least bit amusing. (I feel myself rapidly losing Irish Times readers by the score.)
Then there are those of us who genuinely don’t like hot weather. A mild spring day will do very nicely. Those early autumn days that are ever-so-slightly seasoned by the sting of winter deserve their celebrations in romantic poetry. But the constant, nagging, oppressive heat that – at time of writing, anyway – continues to broil the nation could only be more unpleasant if accompanied by a plague of tsetse flies.
Let me here issue a collective response to those well-meaning correspondents who have, on no decent evidence, taken my enthusiasm for subtropical fug as a given. Thank you for your inquiry. No, I have not been “enjoying the lovely weather”. I find it bloody horrible. Because I have a big red Armagh head on me, no hat will fit properly and I am forced to plonk an item on the peeling scalp that – remembering Bob Dylan’s Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat – balances “like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine” (or the other way round).
Fear of heat exhaustion
Unable to wear a jacket for fear of heat exhaustion, I am forced to cram wallet, phone, keys, pen and change into trousers that, slumping beneath the weight, now sit lower than those of the average teenage hip-hop enthusiast. People force me to eat outside with the flies. The street stinks on rubbish day.
We’ve gone past the point where news bulletins carry numbingly cheery footage of babies eating ice cream and panting dogs being cooled with garden hoses. The newsreaders now issue grave warnings to any fool considering an adventure outdoors. The woman on Sky has just clarified that those at particular risk include the elderly, the very young, heart patients, sufferers from respiratory ailments and people from Northern Ireland. I may have made the last bit up.