SUZANNE HARRINGTON: Why heatwaves always leave us red-faced

AS ginger people explode in the street and ice cream vans are placed under garda protection, what remains unfathomable is how much effort we put into going on holiday abroad, but when ‘abroad’ temporarily turns up on our damp Irish doorstep, we lose our minds, writes Suzanne Harrington.

AS ginger people explode in the street and ice cream vans are placed under garda protection, what remains unfathomable is how much effort we put into going on holiday abroad, but when ‘abroad’ temporarily turns up on our damp Irish doorstep, we lose our minds.

By abroad, I refer to hot places. Not Scotland.

Like wildebeest seeking out watering holes, we migrate to designated holiday ghettos several hours south (via unpleasant budget airlines) where everything is designed to be identical to home, only hotter.

Familiar food, drink, pubs, language, accents, people, faces, all gamely facilitated by foreigners with whom nobody interacts, because that’s not why we are on holiday.

We are on holiday for the sun. We have bought our special holiday uniform from the special holiday shop, which we will wear for two weeks, and then put away when we arrive back home, and put back on our fleeces and socks. This is what we do, because we are Irish.

But what happens when home becomes as hot as being on holiday? The solar equivalent of lunacy, that’s what.

Something deranged, embedded in the Irish psyche, is triggered when temperatures outside our front door reach the kind of heat we are only ever accustomed to paying for abroad.

So, what do we do? Walk on the shady side of the street, drink lots of water, sport an elegant hat, and carry on as normal?

Don’t be ridiculous. That’s what foreigners do. We tear off our clothes, expose our pale blue skin to peak sunlight, men forgetting they are not at home in their own bathrooms, as they wander about naked but for their shorts, while women suddenly believe boob tubes to be a good idea.

We are inundated with advice on ‘How To Dress For A Heatwave’ and ‘Ten Ways To Eat Alfresco’ and ‘How To Stay Hydrated’, because common sense has evaporated like a puddle in a gorse fire. We get sunstroke of the IQ.

Instantly engaged in competitive prosecco-quaffing, we ignore the kindergarten science about alcohol, dehydration, and heat.

Cremated animal protein as a dining option becomes normalised, despite none of us knowing how to work the barbecue, because it’s never been out of the garage.

We assume local sunlight is different from foreign sunlight, resulting in that classic Irish look, sundried tomato face, accessorised with a filthy hangover, because there’s work in the morning and it’s still too hot, like we are on holiday, except we’re not.

Cue hot-weather moaning: “It’s suffocating. I can’t sleep. They’re out of ice. I’m sick of barbecues. My sunburn hurts. There’s no air conditioning. I hate Pimms. We can’t get anything done. The road is melting. My laptop has overheated. The garden is parched. There’ll be a hosepipe ban next. We’ll all get skin cancer. I’m pre-diabetic from all the ice cream. We’re doomed.”

God, wouldn’t you love a bit of rain.

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