Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lessons from the rain

Today started hot and humid, the sort of damp embrace where no sooner have you finished showering than you start to sweat. I packed a t-shirt to change into and headed off to the station. The rain was spitting, but it was no worse than a dripping air conditioner, so I paid it no mind.

However, the HKO's prediction of a proper rainstorm was accurate, and with the water coming down like cats and dogs outside, and the building manager having set the controls for the air con to Colder Than Charlton Heston's Hands As You Pry His Rifle Out Of Them, I soon regretted my wardrobe choice. Here we are in a sub tropical environment and the office is utterly baltic.

So I shivered all morning, but at 1pm I had to go out to pay my rent, at which point the deluge really arrived. I had an umbrella, but that's not much use when the rain is bouncing upwards, or when the water isn't draining away but instead is an inch deep on all the pavements as the gutters struggle to keep up. By the time I got back to the office, my shoes were saturated, my socks were soaked, my trousers were almost transparent and my head hurt at all this alliteration.

I made several discoveries this afternoon. First, although it's an advantage to be able to zip off the bottom halves of your trousers if they're sopping wet, that still means you're freezing cold, if not so damp.

Second, in a chilly room, socks that can have water wrung out of them don't dry.

Third, while stuffing my shoes with newspaper dried out the worst of it, a lack of sufficient newspaper meant that stuffing my socks with old sheets from the printer was no help at all; perhaps the paper is coated or treated to prevent water absorption, which was no good when you're trying for a makeshift sponge.

Fourth, when you do get given a desk heater, to further add to entropy by heating up a freezing cold office in a subtropical country, nobody remarks at the smell of slowly drying socks that begins to permeate the office. Which is jolly convenient, really.

I hope those four things are useful to people caught without galoshes and oilskins this summer. I will be going on about some other things later, after I've changed into drier footwear.


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