After 6 months of darkness eating at the already grumbling souls of all Londoners, there came a day when we emerged from the Underground squinting and grimacing with pain at the bright hotness in the sky. For at least an hour the entire city stood still, looking up and wondering if we were about to be obliterated by a very slowly-approaching meteor.
The Eye stopped spinning, Big Ben paused mid-clang, and Queen Lizzie took a desolate gulp of gin and finally abdicated to Charles. But then, just as the last hopes of the people were slipping out to sea with the filthy Thames, one brave soul shouted above the utter silence of the fearful millions: ‘It’s the sun!’
The sigh was audible as mothers unclutched their children and shop owners doubled the price of sunglasses. Starbucks realised Christmas was finally over and swapped Eggnog Latte for Frappes, all heating systems clanged to a halt and the air con was set to ‘Dubai‘. Schoolboys who’d hit puberty over the Winter suddenly blushed collectively as they really appreciated the un-scarved bosom for the first time.
The commuter set threw off their business casuals and flocked in their pasty nudity to the royal parks, flashing their fluorescent pins and crying aloud ‘GET IN ME, vitamin D!’ Of course 5 minutes later the hail set in and the working classes shuffled back to their now-icy cubicles covered in scratches and muttering about throwing it all in to be a DJ in Ibiza.
Now the people of London are paralysed, staring into cupboards for hours a day deciding whether to tempt fate by leaving the house without a jacket. Winter scarf or Summer scarf? No scarf?! Sandals will bring rain, dresses wind, shoulderless t-shirts snow, and jumpers humid heat. Can I wear a raincoat AND sunglasses?
Tights and cardis are too hot but lower legs and upper arms are not yet safe for work, and so Boots does a roaring trade in buffers and moisturisers and the treadmills at the gym are all taken. Water bills rise dramatically as bathers frantically scrub at their calloused feet, and the optimistic limp along with jandals cutting into the Winter-softened space between their toes.
The city has now segregated into several castes – those who have just returned from an early Summer island holiday (the show-off browns), those who fake it til they make it in death-machines or in a bottle (the streaky yellows), those who have spent every lunch time with their tights rolled down and midriffs bared (the painful pinks), and those who still fear the skyballofskincancer (the alabaster ghosts). As these sects are not allowed by law to mingle, you will see everywhere The Comparison of Forearms, this being the main method of determining social class.
Perhaps most noticeable is the riot of colour and noise. Suddenly the silent streets are teeming with a plague of children, laughing and playing and blatantly flouting the signage present on every council estate: ‘No Ball Games Allowed’. Joining the cacophony are the birds, flocking like biblical locusts to the sudden greenery of the cemetery nearby.
Locals stand on streetcorners confused, as the bare black trees that seemed to loom out of the graveyard like corpses themselves have sprouted never-imagined pink and white blossoms. Google Maps crashes every 10 minutes as Londoners lost in their own neighbourhoods frantically press the ‘locate me’ button.
Hayfever sufferers complain about the plane trees, travellers complain about school holidays, locals complain about tourists, networks complain about tv ratings, commuters complain about the cattle-run of the Central Line, and maybe you’ll complain that I haven’t written a blog in a while.
Well I don’t care – I saw the sun!
- The Etiquette of Complaining Effectively (blogs.abc.net.au)
- #NoComplaining. (perniciously.wordpress.com)
- do not complain do not complain do not complain (toutsurladance.wordpress.com)
- Starbucks Frapp-Happy Hour is Back (findingcoffee.wordpress.com)
- London, The City I’m In Love With (michelleteohziyan.wordpress.com)