It is a typical English trait to discuss the weather.
UK readers will know that the last few days have been very hot and sunny (well, as far as we are concerned). As a consequence, my typical eight-layer wardrobe for the commute between Derby and Birmingham has been eschewed for shorts, T-shirt and sandals … but no socks as I haven’t yet reached forty.
Monday and Tuesday were great, though the aircon at work is rubbish. I made frequent complaints and threatened to wear my Mankini.
Then late afternoon today: the skies were rent with thunderbolts, clouds served as shrouds to a thousand devilish faces, the wind howled like the cries of maddened wolves, and it royally pissed it down.
Now, normally when the weather turns rotten I’ll just work a bit extra until it eases; but today I couldn’t. I had to leave the office at that time, in order to catch a particular train home. I didn’t have time to phone for a taxi, and no-one in the office had an umbrella to lend me.
Nothing for it. In my height-of-summer-geek-fashion attire, I walked out of the office and into a biblical storm. I made a cheery wave to the Smokers Union, huddled outside the main entrance to the office block. They made an effort to hide their laughter, but failed.
After only twenty yards of walking, my sandals became so waterlogged that my feet actually slipped around inside them and I fell flat on my stupid face.
I picked myself up and hobbled towards the station, passing by a jewellers. In the window sat two attractive female members of staff, watching the storm and the idiots out in it. They smiled and waved at me. It seems that a good way of cheering other people up is to demonstrate when you’re worse off then they are.
By the time I reached the station I was at that couldn’t-get-any-wetter stage and had ceased to avoid puddles. Might as well splash in them and pretend I’m ten years old again. My underwear was so waterlogged it must have been like a lava-lamp down there.
Even after a 40 minute train ride I hadn’t dried off. I reached home, and into the arms of my loving and understanding family (“Look at the state of you! No, don’t come near me. Go upstairs and get changed.”).
And as I walk back down the stairs in dry clothes, I see the coats hanging in the hall. And that’s the point when I remember that last week – when the weather turned sunny – I chose to leave my raincoat at work for the next time I needed it.