Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Summertime Blues - Wednesday
‘Going to be hot this morning.’ Murmurs my wife, as I lie awake looking at the ceiling.
I’ve been married long enough to realise this isn’t a prediction about anything other than the weather, and besides I get screwed at work most days anyway. I know what comes next. It’s a regular battle, as soon as the capricious British weather hints at anything other than wind and rain.
‘You’ll be sweltering in a suit.’ She begins artfully, with a stifled yawn. I know that, I’ve been selling homes for longer than most people’s relationships last - some of my friends are on their third marriages - and yet she still persists in trying to convince me I’d look business-like, yet stylish, dressed like an Australian Bank Manager in a heatwave.
When I was woken by the sun rising at silly-o’clock, I realised this sartorial elegance conversation was slated to run again. We don’t get many decent days in the UK, where you can plan a barbecue or a trip to the beach, but this seemed like it might be one. One I knew I had several back-to-back appointments to attend, where I’d be sweating enough on a sole agency without sweating on the potential clients’ upholstery.
Needless to say the overdue for replacement company car will be like an oven, with the wheezy air-conditioning about as effective as an ice cube in a furnace. Yes, I’ve tried topping it up at the local Main Dealer but the hoses leak faster than a Government cabinet meeting.
‘I’m always sweltering in a suit.’ I answer, eventually. Rolling out of bed and feeling the first stabbing back pain of the day. My rival office colleagues will doubtless continue with that later.
‘I don’t know why you persist.’ Snipes my wife, rising in one annoyingly swift, fluid movement.
With what? I think sourly. Selling homes for ungrateful owners, letting properties for rogue landlords, flogging inappropriate financial products? No, neither do I. If it wasn’t for that over-leveraged interest-only mortgage, I thought was a good idea at the time.
‘Some of the trendier estate agents wear Polo tops now.’ States my wife woundingly.
‘They look like Wimbledon ball boys.’ I snipe, plodding to the en-suite with a limp.
‘I didn’t mean you’re not trendy.’ She replies, unconvincingly. She did.
I’ve had my fair share of fashion disasters, I recall, as I scrape at the greying bristles and wonder if I can eke this razor blade out, until the end of the week? There was the brief dalliance with a moustache in the late eighties, the paisley ties still hanging limply in the cupboard and that double-breasted suit with the turn-up trousers. It’s still at the back of the wardrobe, but barring an extended bout of bulimia I won’t be a size 32 inch waist again.
‘I’ve ironed this one for you just in case.’ Announces my wife as I hobble back from my shower, wearing just boxer pants and a faint sheen of sweat. I’ve slathered myself with roll-on anti-perspirant, like wallpaper paste, but I know as soon as I don my suit jacket the armpits will start to prickle - then leak.
I stare at the short-sleeved shirt my wife is proffering, hopefully. It’s a mistake I bought a couple of years ago. Too formal for a barbecue and too lacking in sleeves for any business, other than show business.
‘I refuse to look like a waiter at a cocktail bar.’ I tell her stiffly.
‘You’d prefer to smell like a Bull Rhino by lunchtime then?’ Counters my wife, with a false smile.
‘That’s why I’ve glued my armpits with enough coagulant to stop Niagra Falls.’ I snap.
‘You’d still be more comfortable in this.’ She says, waving the shirt like a surrender flag. I won’t be capitulating.
‘It’s just an unwritten rule.’ I grump, as I sit and pick at my dusty muesli. I’m already overheating and I’m tempted to unbutton my cuffs and roll the sleeves up a bit. But I’m nothing, if not stubborn. How else would I still be pitching for business against kids younger than my sock collection?
Hot to trot.