In the middle of the heatwave it is too hot to run, too hot to garden, too hot to do anything much except wilt sweatily over chairs and doze. So I feel for the scaffolders working right outside my office, because God knows it can’t be fun working outside. Still, there’s a limited amount of time I can work inside in a slowly-baking room with scaffolding being banged on loudly a few feet from the window, in the heat that’s already induced a low-level temporary insanity in much of the city (viz. – mass decisions to walk down Byres Road at midday dressed only in bright green shorts and an all-over sunburn), without absolutely losing my mind.
So I gave up at four o’clock and took my work home with me, because reading about lecturing techniques is pretty location-flexible. (And would you like to hear about lecturing techniques, now that I have read all the assigned reading? I have so much to share with you! First: you should communicate to the students what they need to learn, audibly and clearly. Second: you should use ‘blackboard and OHP technology’ where available. Ta-da! Don’t you feel more informed already? Also, don’t you wonder when OHPs will replace phrenology heads as the chic academic desk accessory? I know I do.)
It only takes me fourteen and a half minutes to walk home, if the traffic lights work in my favour, but by six and a quarter I was already flagging. The sun was relentless and sapping all the strength out of my body, and I could feel my arms and face starting to burn (this doesn’t take much – I got sunburnt in Iceland). But luckily, my heat-addled brain could just about put together two useful pieces of information: A) we need food, and B) the place that sells food has air conditioning. Onwards, brave feet!
Inside, Waitrose was busy but strangely quiet. People seemed to be walking around in a serene, peaceful glow, all tie-dye-maxi-dressed up with toenail polish to match their sandals, loving the hell out of the weather. At first I was surprised, and then slightly guilty, and then settling on befuddled, because how on earth were they managing to cope with this?
And then, in the milk aisle, the serenity was shattered by shrieking pandemonium. A baby being held by one worried-looking adult was furiously yanking off all of its clothes, much faster than either of the two other worried-looking adults with it could put them back on. This was not mere casual sock-flipping, oh no – this was an all-out ruthless and determined campaign, by the wriggliest being I have ever seen this side of an octopus. It was awe-inspiring.
“We don’t want to throw away our hat!”, one of the adults was saying earnestly as I passed them. “Not your Tigger hat! You need your hat!”
Baby looked at her, pulled off its sock, and threw it into the milk cartons.