It's July and it's around 30 degrees max. That's pretty normal for most of Europe. That's what summer is. But it's so strange. We emerge from our homes, blinking and startled in the light, like naked mole rats exposed to the sunshine for the first time. Like we've come out of a nuclear winter into a brave new world.
The sun. It burns. That thing in the sky. It makes you hot! Like really hot. And smelly. It makes many people very, very smelly. And sweaty. And pink. Stumbling round like peeled prawns covered in tattoos and Lycra.
Fatty greets me every morning with an expression of bewildered bliss. He doesn't walk around the house so much as ooze. An undulating mass of black fur with big, big eyes. He was so lethargic the other day that he let me schnarfle his belly for actual minutes without his customary expression of utter disgust followed by deliberately turning his back on me. My adoration for Fatman annoys Fatman it seems.
My dreams are restless as I wake up in a pool of confused sweat every night. Why can't I breathe? Why is it so hot? And then I remember, it's summer.
When I sit at the bus stop in the morning (8am and already in the early 20s - can you imagine? Yes, I know it happens every year but I like to pretend that I have never seen the like. It perpetuates the myth that this will be the hottestyearsince1976 (TM)) I like to categorise people based on their summer attire.
So far this is what I have:
- The ones who can't wait to stripUsually, but not always men. Whip off their shirts at every opportunity, starting in early March in the (mistaken) belief that their bodies are just so damn fine that people (girls) are salivating for the chance to look at their torso (that kind of concave skinniness that young boys seem to think resembles some kind of proof of athleticism - it doesn't. Or, alternatively a proud beer belly drooping in the midday glare), often resplendent with misspelled tattoos and patches of sunburn. Sometimes you see the female equivalent, perhaps wearing a tiny bikini top as she does the weekly shop. Tribal symbol tattoos from the 90s abound, along with Beckham style 'mysterious words in a foreign language that may or may not make sense' type tattoos and the deep, early season tan of the unemployed. Often accessorised with Red Stripe, Monster and/or weed. These days often spotted with an e-cig. Progress.
- The ones who are slightly too self conscious to find summer comfortable
May or may not be slightly overweight. Either way, there ain't no way their legs are coming out. Or their upper arms, butt cheek or cleavage. Employ a lot of Lycra if women and black clothes if men. T-shirts never, ever come off and they would clearly rather drown in sweat than inflict their pasty body on anyone else. Not happy with summer in general as they know they should be enjoying it but their inability to squeeze into hotpants puts the kibosh on it somewhat.
- The I don't give a shit I'm wearing shorts ones
Definitely overweight - often very, very overweight - and couldn't give a flying fuck. They're going to wear hotpants cos it's hot, motherfucker. And yeah, there may be rolls hanging out and an unwholesome amount of flesh on show but so what? If male and in a club 'moshing' will often take their shirt off and throw their moobs around like they just don't care. As an observer, I'm torn between admiration and discomfiture. On the one hand, yeah, you go girl etc. On the other, I actually just don't want to see your ass cheeks.
- The ones who are born for this weather
You know those ones who just seem to spring from nowhere as soon as the sun shines, complete with full body natural looking tan, sun streaked hair, perfectly painted toenails and a laid back but excellent summer wardrobe? Where do they come from? How do they know? Maybe they skulk inside for the rest of the year preparing. Waxing, exfoliating, buffing and shining themselves to summer perfection. They never sweat and they never get sunburn. They're just perfectly beach ready. ALL THE TIME. Naturally look amazing in hotpants and avoid looking slutty or try hard.
- The I don't give a shit it's summer I'm old ones
Old people are cold blooded or something. I haven't looked it up but am pretty sure there is a direct correlation between ageing and ability to withstand heat. That's why when you see an old (and I mean in their 80s old) woman in mid-summer chances are she's wearing full tweed regalia plus hat and not even breaking a sweat.
- The hot pants plus Uggs ones
Best go. I need to go and lie in an ice bath or 10 minutes. See, here's the thing. Even though I know I'm supposed to be skipping through the meadows JOYOUS at the heat and sun and summer and that, I'm just... not. It's nice to sit in the sun for a bit, sure. But y'know. It doesn't rock my world. It doesn't make my heart sing with joy. In short, I don't really care. Maybe it'd be different if I could actually rock hotpants...