Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Enforced enjoyment of the sunshine is just the first step to totalitarianism.

Unless you’ve been on holiday somewhere much colder, like the Mediterranean, you probably noticed that the civilized parts of the UK (sorry Scotland) were bathed in unseasonable sunshine this weekend. It was sticker than on Peter Stringfellow’s leather sofa, as we broke the record for the all-time hottest day in October. Well done us.

In addition to the rather bizarre sight of sunbathers being buried in the fall of autumn leaves, and birds wondering around scratching the heads and checking the date on their tickets to fly south for the winter, every moron in the country rushed to tell us how “if this is what global warming does, count me in”. As if the collapse of the planet-wide ecosystem is some how a reasonable price to pay for them to be wearing their three-quarter length linen chinos in late September. I should imagine that if the greenhouse effect does go unchecked and the Earth bakes in 60 degree heat, that at the very moment the wave from the final melted piece of the Antarctic rushes to flood the last vestige of un-submerged land, said island will be covered in thousands of scantily clad humans all thinking “what a lovely January we’re having” as their untimely death rushes towards them. On the plus side the mass starvation that global warming induced total crop failure will have caused will at least mean you finally fit into that bikini.

The problem I find with hot weather, seasonal or otherwise, is there seems to be an inordinate amount of social pressure to “make the most of the weather”. But what exactly does that mean? I found that throughout the weekend and Monday people were asking me if “I’d spent all the day in the sun?” with the tone of the questioning strongly implying that to say anything other than yes would make stupider than the person who had the idea for “Don’t Scare the Hare” (Saturday early afternoons BBC One – bring a trowel so you can gouge your own eyes out). Don’t get me wrong I did venture out of the house at the weekend briefly, but I find it odd the assumption that I have to go outside and soak up every last ray of light like a cold-blooded lizard that’s about to be taken on a six month expedition into the darkest depths of hell (or Croydon as cartographers prefer to name it). Yes we don’t get glorious sunny days that often, but we don’t get hurricanes that often, and I wouldn’t go and stand in the path of a Force 10 gale and get blown down the street just to “make the most of it because there won’t be another one until May”.

Of course the difference is sunshine tends to be both nicer and less likely to flatten you under an upturned ice cream van than a hurricane. But what are you supposed to go and do outside, if like me you happen to be on your own. No I’m not just talking about my fatal allergy to forming a meaningful relationships with a partner; I mean the fact that my flatmate and everyone who lives nearby had better things to do this weekend than spend it with me. Am I supposed to find an excuse to go it alone alfresco? Needlessly coming up with something productive that I could do outdoors on my own like a solar-powered loner?

Ok, so I could go sunbathing but whilst that’s ok to do on your own in a garden, it feels a bit odd in a public space alone. Won’t everyone be judging me going “look at the loner”? In fairness those people don’t matter as I don’t know them, and I’ve freely told everyone I know on this blog that I am a loner. So given that, you’d think I wouldn’t be bothered. But I am. Groups of happy people, enjoying all the things that are alien to me, like social interaction and laughter.

Besides where do you go to sunbathe? The minute there’s even the faintest glimmer of sunshine in London every single public space is carpeted in people within about 20 seconds. Clapham Common this weekend just looked like a giant ocean of undulating flesh. Which in reality is about as attractive as that simile makes it sound. I suppose on the plus side for a lone sunbather like myself, it’s so crowded that wherever you sit you appear to be with a group, all you need to do is occasionally laugh at something someone says and the illusion is complete. On a serious note though, where do all these people come from? I mean I have never seen so many people in Clapham ever, are all these people living in hibernation until the one day a year when the sun actually shines. Or is literally every house and public building in the capital empty, surely good weather is a burglar’s paradise what with empty homes and windows wedged open for ventilation – well it would be if they weren’t also on Clapham Common slapping on the factor 10, that they stole from Boots. I mean did I miss the new legislation that it is illegal to be indoors on a sunny day? Presumably that’s the reason why no one bothers to build houses in the suntrap that is the Sahara.

Of course there are other pitfalls of solo sunbathing, in your garden you can always pop in for refreshments, books or sun cream. Not so in public sunbathing, you’ve got to bring everything with you, and then eat it or drink it within 10 seconds of arrival before it turns to melted mush (not the books and sun cream you understand). Without a fellow sunbather you can’t even nip to the ice cream van without losing your spot, and don’t whatever you do leave your stuff to reserve your space – remember all the burglars are out sunbathing too. And what happens if you need the loo, you just have to do it in situ and hope that onlookers presume that any unfortunate stains are the result of melted choc ices. Then of course there’s the fact that at least one other person within ear shot of wherever you choose to lay on whatever public space you do it at, will decide that this is the perfect opportunity for them to become a DJ. They’ll be pumping out heavy base “tunes” faster than Theresa May pumps out b****cks about cats and asylum seekers. And, much like Theresa, whatever noise they make you’re guaranteed to hate it. I mean no one ever played out a nice episode of Just a Minute whilst in the park; instead we get music whose heavy dull beat is designed to penetrate into the deepest synapses of your ear and shake all the wax loose. When you get up they’ll be two piles of orange residue either side of your head, it’ll look like a freak accident where both David Dickenson and Dale Winton melted in the sun at exactly the same moment.

Plus, of course, there’s the sporty types (read w***ers) playing with their football, discus or bat and ball set, for some reason the former is always the most annoying. Who will then proceed to smack you in the face with the ball before apologising as they trample all over with you whilst wearing studded boots in order not to “interrupt play”. Still you’ve got to love the beautiful game, or perhaps NOT. And finally there’s of course the people who feel that clothes aren’t really for them, yes it’s hot, and whilst we don’t mind short sleeves and shorts, walking around with more oil on you than John Prescott’s chip pan and in pants so tiny that if they were televised they’d disappear between the pixels on the screen is a bit too much. If you haven’t got the body for that look you really shouldn’t be trying it on grounds of taste and decency, and if you have got the body then stop making all the rest of us feel inferior. There’s nothing quite as soul destroying when you’ve got a body so vile that taking a bath makes you nauseous, as seeing the modern day Adonis wondering the streets half naked. And before people rush to my defence and say “don’t worry you’re not that fat” as I’m sure you were about too (rather rude if not), it’s not the fact that my torso is fat. But more that it has absolutely no contours, it just looks like a bland lump of fat that’s been sliced off from a mound of nondescript flesh in preparation to be moulded in some dark genetic experiment – much like that old school ice cream you used to get in long cardboard boxes and just hacked slabs off for dessert.

And they say I have issues?

Still sunbathing is not the only thing you can ruin your day doing in the sun, yeah that’s right you can also ruin your day by going swimming in an outdoor pool. The problem is you won’t be the only person with that idea; the pool will be so crowded that your “swimming experience” will be much like standing on a packed Victoria line train during an unfortunate flash flood (where all the passengers happened to be wearing their undergarments… yeah ok the comparison sort of breaks down there). The other problem being that despite this being a typically freezing cold country, no one seems to have worked on the idea of the outdoor heated pool. Thus the pool is typically so icy cold that stepping in it causes your genitalia to retract into your body so fast that you end up getting whiplash of the penis. Which is just as unpleasant as it sounds.

Then there’s the beach, which is basically the above but with pollution instead of chlorine and the joy of sitting through eight hours of tailbacks to get there. And if that wasn’t enough there’s the utter thrill of sand. All you have to do is catch sight of a beach for hundreds of thousands of grains of sand to get stuck up every orifice of your body. This is just the beginning of the most tedious game of hide and seek known to man as you then spend the next six months finding the grains of sand that accompanied you home in the most obscure of places in your house, you name it there’ll be sand there, from the bottom drawer of the freezer to the fuse box – sand will have got there.

So thanks but no thanks to all those who judge me for not going out and enjoying every moment of the sun, even when there’s no one to spend the day with. I think I’ve successfully argued my way into going against the sun-worshipping norm and embracing hermitage. Roll on winter, the season where it’s socially acceptable to be a loner and never leave the sofa.

P.S. This is the tenth week of my blogging, so thanks if you managed to stay with me all this time, much appreciated (I know it’s not been easy), and special thanks to those who leave comments, especially if you manage it every week -  you know who you are!

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Until next time…

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Amusing as always Matty as well as making some valid points - well done!