Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, July 10, 2018
The weather has been absolutely balmy for weeks now as the sun continues to beat down.
It is the perfect time for picnics, days by the sea or cycle rides through the quiet Norfolk back roads. What it isn’t perfect for is work.
I don’t understand how people who live in countries with much higher temperatures than us can go about their working lives looking smart, elegant and unflustered. These people are usually to be found wearing well-cut suits, with ties or, in the case of the women trouser suits or dresses. Whatever very smart items of clothing they are wearing, they manage to look so damn cool.
Most of us Brits on the other hand, have bright red, perspiring faces, our hair is plastered to our necks and foreheads and our clothes are just perpetually damp and crumpled.
Getting on the train and you are assailed by the heady scent of lots of deodorant and aftershave mixed with body odour. If you happen to be unfortunate enough for your skin to brush someone else’s arm, there is an audible suction sound as two clammy bodies briefly endure a moment of contact.
The office is just as bad. If there is air-con then the air is unnaturally cold and you find yourself coming out in goosebumps as you enter the building. Suddenly your damp clothing becomes cold and clingy.
If there is no air con, then the office just gets hotter and hotter as the day goes on. If you are unlucky enough to sit near a window that doesn’t open, then the sun at some point will stream onto you, making the trickles of sweat down your neck and legs increase to a flow of water.
Probably the worst place to be, in terms of mental duress is next to a window that would open but as you reach for the latch, your senior/noisier/bossier colleagues have pointed to their packet of hay fever tablets and shaken their heads. Defeated, you have sunk back not the sodden softness of your fabric chair seat.
Then there is the drinks after work issue. You recoil in horror from the heat that emanates from their clothing, the smell of peanuts on their hot breath and the damp patch that has spread from their armpits to make large concentric circles on their light blue shirt. Oh for winter to arrive!