When you wear winter clothing on the first day of summer weather, things start melting, especially when you’re out in the middle of it.
Today was a stinker. Not hot by northern standards’but for the semi-alpine, frog’s-bum-cold that is Canberra (or at least I thought was Canberra), the heat that swept across the ranges from the interior today was more than enough to warrant complaint. Coupled with this, it was extremely humid; the sort of humid where just sitting is enough to raise a sweat, which unless you’re sitting around having a lazy day, isn’t particularly pleasant.
Now since moving here, I have to confess that my exercise regime has not been quite what it used to be in Melbourne when I was going to the gym five days per week, and then doing a long run (10km+) on Sunday. I’ve kept some of the running going, but a total of 90–120 minutes per week is not enough to keep things in order, and as such, I’ve started to bulge again. The muffins I have with my daily coffee at work aren’t helping…come to think of it maybe the coffee isn’t either.
Anyway, back to the hot muggy day. I have been recently contemplating the possibility of moving to a new share house for the remainder of my contract, as the agents for my current abode have recently decided it’s time to try and lock the place down for another 12 months, and I have a housemate whose mental stability I am starting to have serious misgivings about.
I’d organised to go and inspect a place but wanted to check out the surrounding area first of all, to double check the distance from this possibly new home to work, as well as other surrounding facilities. More than anything, I wanted to work out where the place was, as being an apartment in a complex of considerable size, combined with my woeful sense of direction, could’ve got me so lost I’d be late for the appointed interview and lose any chance of being offered the room.
When I moved here I kind of went middle of the road with the wardrobe, figuring that if the winter were truly as bad as everyone told me (it was), then I could wear jackets etc, but never work clothes that were too heavy, because of the heating in the office. I figured likewise for the more summery weather—nothing too heavy for the outdoors, and nothing too light for the air-conditioned office.
What’s that? Oh, you want me to get back to the “sweatin’ my ass off” part? Sorry about that, but it is Canberra, the propensity to talk at length about the mundane aspects of my day is somehow interesting for me these days. But anyway, as you don’t want to read about that…
When my lunch break came around I decided I’d scoot up to this place in Turner (an inner northern suburb), find where the apartment was, time how long it took me to walk there, and then know firstly if I wanted to continue with the inspection/interview; and secondly how much time I’d need to get there when it counted. In the hottest part of the day, dressed in my work clothes, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed up Northborne Avenue.
Whilst the walk up there was kinda testing as far as heat and humidity endurance goes, it wasn’t altogether uncomfortable. I made good time, and found the place reasonably easily. As something of a surprise, the walking time to/from work would be roughly the same as where I am now—I’d thought Turner was much closer than that. On heading back, I realised I’d begun to sweat profusely. Even a brisk walk in cold weather will get my body temperature up, and even in Winter I will break a sweat whilst walking to work, so in heat and humidity it’s a touch worse. Often the first indicator of this sweating for me is when the wind blows and all of a sudden parts of my chest feel cold.
Between you and me, my chest would give Robin Williams a run for his money for the forestry I’ve got going on there, so when I sweat, it’s like my own little ecosystem. Precipitation forms, then gathers into streams, which in turn converge to form rivers, which in turn pool into lakes. Unfortunately these lakes tend to form right at the bottom of my rib cage where the convergence of body contours, forest terrain, and shirt material kind of result in my own little male impersonation of lactation.
But that’s not the worst of it. So profusely was I sweating, that I could feel the rivers of sweat running down my back, and as to be expected, cutting the ravine between two large mountains—don’t ask where it goes after that. My armpits looked like I’d stuck too large wet sponges under them, and my lactating quasi man-boobs were really getting out of control.
By the time I finally got back to the city, all I wanted to do as get back to the office and cool down in air conditioned comfort. I crossed Northborne in front of a collection of cars at the traffic lights, and grimaced when I noticed two twenty-something women in a car looking at me with an odd expression. They’d obviously noticed my man-boobs had sprung a leak, and that the sweat stains under my arms were quickly growing to join the lactation lakes.
I was sure I saw them stifle a laugh as I passed, and almost died with embarrassment when they began tooting their car horn’at least I’m pretty sure it was theirs. My eagerness to get back to the safety of the office knew no bounds, and I took the fastest route I could think of’through City Walk, now packed with lunchtime shoppers. I knew full well I’d cop some stares as I hurried through, and I was now so self-conscious I wanted to suck my head inside my neck so I wouldn’t have to see anyone staring at me.
I just couldn’t stop sweating in this heat, and even if I could, it would still be some time before the dark wet patches now emerging all over my shirt would finally dry away. I needed a good gale to blow, both to dry my shirt, and to blow dust into the eyes of all those staring at me. I can’t describe the relief I felt when I finally reached my building at the other end of the city, and stepped into the lift, and glanced at the mirrors, which reflect a rear view I prefer to never look at.
As it turns out, it wasn’t just my front that was sweating profusely. My back had been giving it a good go as well, but with different terrain to guide the flow, it all kind of just ended up at my waistline, where it proceeded to soak down into my underwear, and then eventually made it’s way to the surface, like the water table does in parts of this country.
The top half of my backside was soaked through, and suddenly the last ten minutes took on a whole new light. The girls in the car hadn’t been tooting at what they saw out front, it was what they’d seen out back, and furthermore I’d just walked through the middle of a lunchtime crowd with THAT trailing behind me. I could imagine people stifling a laugh as they passed by me, then on glancing back as I passed, losing all control at the sight of my back. I replayed the scene in my head, and was sure I could see people pointing and laughing, but hadn’t been aware what they were laughing about.
At that point I found myself wishing the lift cables would snap and send me plunging to the bottom of the shaft, just so I wouldn’t have to try and sneak into the office. But then of course I realised if that happened, when they pulled my body from the wreckage, the first things they’d notice, would be my man-boob lactation stains, and my sweaty arse. Talk about trapped.
When the lift doors opened I made absolutely sure there was no one else around in the entry hall, and then rushed to the security door to buzz myself in. For those few terrifying seconds it then took me to get myself to my desk, the sound of a door opening behind me, or for that matter, any movement at all, made me break out in a sweaty panic (great, more to the flow).