Phop, phop, phop.
The sound of a fan mere inches from my gonads. The slightest of slips and, in spectacular fashion, all hope of future Sebastians goes down the drain. Earlier, some of my leg hair got caught between the blades and it hurt like buggery. A small price to pay for wind-chilled testicles though; if they get too hot it can make me impotent, right?
I took my shirt off hoping for a slight reprieve and it worked for a while. But now I’ve soaked through the chair I’m sitting in and not only am I hot, I’m sticky. Sticky.
I’m amazed that my keyboard hasn’t yet short-circuited. I’ve been looking into getting one of those plastic covers that they use in McDonalds to prevent them from getting gunged up with grease. Mind you, death-by-keyboard-electrocution has to be the best way a geek can go…
It’s made all the worse by spending 80 to 90% of my waking life in front of three computers, four screens and an amplifier that generates enough heat that my cats always flock to it in the winter. It’s about 3 kilowatts in total, which is great in winter… but not in the summer. Perhaps I should get out more I often find myself thinking as I swing around in my computer chair, waving my arms about like a retard and desperately trying to create a breeze.
But in a brief moment of clarity I realise I shouldn’t be moaning or despairing: melting into an amorphous puddle of goo in a bedroom surrounded by high-tech equipment with a tall glass of cold, clean water is a lot more desirable than passing out in the wild undergrowth of Central Anatolia, Turkey.
And so it is, with gooey stumps that would make a leper proud, with gangly digits that were once well-formed and finely-honed typing machines, I write this entry.
I had planned to write something else, something deep, but the pervasive heat is debilitating. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the few times I’ve almost died of heatstroke or dehydration. What a thrilling topic for a blog entry. I’ve interspersed a few pretty photos to make it less boring.
June 29th 2009, Sussex, England
(See picture at start of entry)
Consumed four pints (2 litres) of water… and sweated it all out again through my fingers. Laptops should be outlawed in the summer. Sat outside in the sun for a while hoping the breeze would somehow utilise the sweat that glistens from every part of my body. No breeze, just felt like my brain was being baked while still safely within the confines of my skull. The feeling of sweat dripping from under your arms onto your hips and legs is quite unique, but not entirely unpleasant.
July 2007, Cappadocia, Turkey
In hindsight it was perhaps rather stupid to take a taxi ride out into the middle of nowhere and then pick my way over the weird and wonderful ‘moonscape’ terrain of Cappadocia. On a normal day I guess it would’ve just been silly, but in the middle of summer with temperatures reaching over 40C (100F) and only a small bottle of water it was stupid. I was very nearly a winner of my very own Darwin Award. As with most of my recent exploits, it was obviously to take photos — and it was probably worth it, despite the near-death experience. Check out the lovely hand-carved cave that I found while crawling along the ground, gasping for air and praying that someone would find me, or I would find civilisation. This is probably over 1500 years old!
Somewhere in South England, 1996
I actually keeled over in some woodlands by school, back when I was 12. We’d been exploring (as kids do, when they go to private schools in the countryside and they’re skipping a class they don’t like) and… I guess I pushed it too hard. I’ve never been the fittest person in the world — the thought of exercising just for the sake of being fit is completely foreign to me — I always thought I’d rather be reading or sitting in front of a computer learning something. The pen is mightier than the sword, right?
Anyway, where was I…
Yes, I passed out in the woods and my friends had to carry me back to school. I am told that, to avoid getting into trouble, they conjured up a great story that involved me being bitten by a snake. Unfortunately, we had leaves and twigs in our hair — oops!
Ostia Antica (30 miles from Rome), October 2008
Instead of Pompeii I decided to go to Ostia Antica, an ancient ruin that has always been overshadowed by its volcanically-preserved sister. I think Pompeii is meant to be in better condition but a) Ostia Antica is only half an hour instead of 4 hours from Rome, and b) it’s almost completely devoid of tourists — so I went to Ostia and it was awesome! Except for the nearly-dying bit.
For the 8 hours I was there I saw three people — and we’re talking about a large city that once had a population of 75,00 people! Originally it had acted as the harbour city of ancient Rome between the 7th century BC and 4th century AD, and some pesky Arab pirates finally caused its downfall in the 9th century. Anyway, I ended up very lost in some ancient Mithraic catacombs; lost and without water.. in the dark. Let me tell you something: ancient religious sites are scary. Dark and scary and damp and silent… except the occasional skitterings of creatures you will never see. I will write about it properly as my travel stories of Italy have finally reached Rome — but the point is… actually, I don’t know what the point is.
Why am I writing in this weather? I’m going to look for another fan…