Friday, June 13, 2014

Death by Raincoat

Thunderstorms in the morning.  I'm dressed like a Popsicle: lime green umbrella, bright pink rain coat, yellow rubber boots.  Rain coming at me sideways as I walk to work.  I'm wet from mid-thigh to the top of my boots.  It takes me all day to get dry. 

It's bank day.  A couple of cheques to deposit and bills to pay for work.  I start the trek downtown.  No longer raining, but for a couple of drops here and there - sun threatening to break through the clouds.  By the time I get to King Street - the day looks to clear.  I'm waiting in line for the business teller.  Five minutes pass.  Another five.  Now I'm feeling a little woozy.  It's past snack time and I don't have a snack on me.  What's the rule Heather?   Always have a snack.  I can feel my shins begin to sweat in my rubber boots.  And then I notice that my ass and upper thighs, covered by the rain coat, are self-basting.  The underside of my breasts threaten to become a viaduct. 

I hold onto the queuing pole.  I unzip my jacket.  It has these two little grommets under each of the armpits - you know - to help you breathe while sheathed in plastic - but I don't think they're working. Would it be wrong to completely strip down to my underwear? I think that's the only thing that might stop me from passing out.  

I feel my throat.  It's clammy.  Clammy isn't good. Clammy, for me, usually immediately precedes... great, the little dots of light have come - dancing around my peripheral vision.    I bend my knees slightly, wiggle my toes.  I won't pass out... I won't pass out.   I'm muttering to myself.  Stop muttering to yourself Heather!  They'll think you're crazy or a bank robber.  Holding on tighter to the pole.  Looking straight into the security camera.  I am not a bank robber.  I'm just hot.  Scrunching my eyes shut to stop the dancing dots.  Then popping them open when the world starts to tilt. The teller is beckoning me forward.

"Strange weather today."

"Mmmm... hmmm..."  I place my bills on the counter.  Don't pass out.  Do NOT pass out.

"Well, at least you were dressed for it."

"Yep.  Little warm now, though."  I think I have sweat pooling into my boots now.

"I can imagine.  Those raincoats don't breathe very well, do they?"

I nod in assent, my own breathing now shallow.

"Well, I think you're all good to go here."  She hands me the bills, I somehow manage to throw them into my bag and stagger to the door.  As soon as I'm out the door, I whip of my jacket, matador-esque - nearly blinding myself when the drawstrings with their little pink plastic tightener thingies come up and whack me in the head.  I'm a sweat zombie, insensibly stumbling down the sidewalk. 

Death by raincoat.  That's how they'll describe this when it gets into the local paper.  I gulp in lungfuls of air - desperate for oxygen while still doing my best not to hyperventilate.  I flap the hem of my shirt - airing out my wet stomach.  I glance down at the potentially womanslaughtering garment.  Where were the airing out holes?  Where were they??  Under the armpits.  Two grommets in each.  The grommets were there, but they didn't go through the lining of the coat.  Holes in the outside rubbery part of the coat, yes, but not all the way through.  This was not a breathable jacket!  These exterior grommets were decoys!  I'm clutching the armpits in a murderous grip - threatening to strangle the coat when I hear...

"Love your boots!!"

I glance up, and there's my friend Henry, all dapper in his sweater and complementary tie - looking cool and British and not like he's going to pass out from heat exhaustion.  He smiles and waves.  I wave back and cross the road to say hello.  By the time I get to the other sidewalk, my breathing has calmed, I'm no longer dizzy.  I look down at my boots.  I love them too. 

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