I don’t believe I am the only man to have been deranged by the heatwave in the manner I am about to describe, in fact I know that I am not, because I had one of those How-Very-True You’re-So-Right type conversations with GodDaughter2’s boyfriend, Only The Other Day, about exactly this matter.
I refer to the fact that I, and many other men, do not merely wear a jacket to fend off frigidity. We also wear it to carry stuff. It is our version of a handbag. In my case: wallet, cheque book and paying in cheques book (so I was born before you were – live with it) (both these items serve another purpose besides handling the financial instrument relics of the previous century, which is to fill up the pocket containing my wallet and stop the wallet falling out (which would be a catastrophe)), pen, purse, Old Git free London transport pass, keys, handkerchiefs, mobile phone, spectacle case with reading spectacles, spectacle case with spare camera batteries and spare SD cards (the latter for if I forget to put my regular SD card back in the camera), Disprins, cough sweets, regular sweets, eye allergy spray, and no doubt several other things I can’t now remember.
Unlike some men, I also carry an actual bag around with me on my travels, containing: a folder with paper to take notes, a shopping bag for if I shop, a camera, a book, a small bottle of fruit flavoured anti-dehydration liquid, any food I have bought, any spare garments I might need for if it gets colder, an umbrella, and even sometimes a laptop computer, on those days when I am in a mobile laptop computing sort of mood (although lately I have tended not to be in such a mood (too heavy)).
But, transferring all the clobber described in paragraph two above into the bag, and into the midst of all the clobber described in paragraph three above, is a serious derangement, not least because the bag gets far too full. For remember, what if, late at night, if the heatwave abates, I need the jacket? I have to have the jacket in the bag, just in case, even though it is far too hot to wear it and in fact, throughout the heatwave, it remained so. So, with everything now in an unfamiliar place, much of it buried under other bits of it, all the usual reflexes stop working. Nothing is any longer where it usually is. I start suffering from that frightful female syndrome of digging about inside the bag, frantically trying to find whatever it is. Which may in fact be in one of my trouser pockets, or maybe even my shirt pocket, for goodness sake. Oh God, where’s my wallet (which contains all sorts of priceless stuff which I dare not even itemise (see above))?!?! Etc..
Today, the heatwave sort of ended, as in: the weather oscillated between pleasantly warm and somewhat warmer. But unfortunately the London Underground didn’t get the email containing the link to the short-term weather forecast, and chose to remain full of the horribly hot air that it had been accumulating throughout the previous fortnight, or however long it’s been.
But the discomfort I suffered was the discomfort of wearing my jacket when it was rather hot. That I can live with.
But worse, just like the London Underground, I too found myself suffering a systemic hangover from the previous period of high temperature hell. Earlier this evening I was in a pub, and when my pubbing was done, I picked up my bag, and visited the toilet, prior to leaving. Luckily, while there, I realised that I had left my jacket on the back of the seat that I had been sitting on. I reclaimed it, seemingly unmolested by plunderers, except that … hell’s bells, my wallet wasn’t in it! It was, of course, in the bag, where I had recently been learning instead to put it.
It’ll be a few more days before I recover my usual calm and suave demeanour, when out and about.