COLM O'REGAN: The heat has turned the world on its head

THIS heat! The world is on its head, writes Colm O’Regan.

Parents are roaring at children to ‘close the door, you’re letting the heat in’.

People are nonchalantly saying ‘we’ll have a barbecue. I dunno, one of the days. Maybe the 13th.’

Imagine! Planning a barbecue without being accused of hubris. And on Friday the 13th! Even the gods can’t interrupt a high pressure system in a holding pattern.

It won’t be long before even church weddings are held outdoors, under the trees; perhaps in the graveyard, so that it looks like a civil ceremony with the theme of ‘I Love Yew’.

What a year to be seven! The snowiest snow, the heatiest heat. The last X-Box-addicted child in the country has been shamed out of their festering bedroom to appear blinking in the sunshine.

Endless days, which we remember from our childhood, are back.

They’re a bit shorter now, because of tasks and to-do lists and notifications from the neighbourhood WhatsApp group about a suspicious lad in a van, but still, there is a sense of a mythical past being revisited. Albeit with more choice in the petrol stations.

The only thing missing from it, to complete the childhood replay, is sitting on a square bale and getting a tow from the tractor, and even though you were travelling at approximately eight miles an hour behind a Massey Ferguson, you never felt so alive.

Of course, it’s been terrible for farmers. Frozen in the spring, drenched after that, and now the grass isn’t growing. All apart from the haymakers. The crop that’s so stressful, it normally results in families not speaking, is a piece of piss this year.

Even the most half-arsed farmer can save hay, at the moment.

They could be out Tarry Flynn-dreaming, sitting in a meadow while chewing the stem of a buttercup, or off at the Galway Races flittering the REPS money, while shed roofs fall in and cows go wandering, but they could still get the hay in, there’s so much time.

They could cut it with a scissors and turn it with a spatula and bale with bags-for-life and they’d have the freshest, sweetest-smelling feedstuff going. The country’s corncrakes could have their eggs hatched and fledglings gone to college, there’s so much time.

The present is a foreign country. Normal life smells and feels like being abroad. It’s so hot that you wake up in your own house and think, ‘I can’t just come here and do the whole sun holiday thing, I’d better go and do something cultural’.

You’re halfway to the local interpretive centre, before you realise where you are. You’re at home. You have to hang a stairgate or ring about the broadband.

It’s only a matter of time before the country’s nobs allow themselves to be conveniently overheard talking about ‘going somewhere to get away from the heat’, as if it’s fecking
Ferragusto. ‘We were thinking maybe Patagonia.’

And spare a thought for those for whom this heatwave is poignant, even bittersweet: The veterans of ’76. For decades, they have been the eye witnesses to a proper heatwave.

They began sentences with ‘I’ll tell you how hot it was…’ They were there when it all happened. People milked the cows straight onto their cocoa powder, the Irish sea dried up, and they cycled to the Isle of Man.

Well, now we less-than-midfortysomethings are making our own history. Their work is done. The baton is passed. This year, there are children teething who have never experienced rain.

That bathroom that is ALWAYS cold is as warm as a granny’s sittingroom. We have our own anecdotes, old-timer. You can rest on your porch, now.

People are building porches to sit on, like America without the shotgun. Tourists are puzzled. Possibly disappointed. Arizonans coming here for the mist are looking shortchanged.

It’s just like home. Only dearer. Although, also on the plus side, not sliding into fascism.

What must they think of the way we use drinking water to wash our backsides? But that’s a discussion for another time. (Next week, in fact.)


Lifestyle

Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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