Louise Bruton, now in her 80s and a billionaire recluse, looks back on the heatwave of 2018 in an interview with some young buck journalist, recounting the days before global warming really took hold of the world.
I can’t remember when the heatwave of 2018 started precisely, I just know that I hadn’t closed my bedroom or bathroom windows since the weekend of May 25th, the weekend of the great referendum. We were so happy then but those heavy days eventually turned into frazzled nights. I remember waking up in a sweat, sticky and confused, forgetting who and where I was, my duvet flung to the ground.
I fell for the heatwave’s charms. I fell hard. With an even base tan kissing my shoulders and chest, I felt more beautiful than I’d ever done in my life and it was all thanks to the large boosts of Vitamin D I was getting. Or maybe it was the sunstroke and dehydration. Either way, this heatwave made me feel good about myself. It was like it knew all the right things to say to a girl and I grew cocky.
I’d only worn jeans twice that summer; once for a funeral and that one day temperatures dropped below 16 degrees. With sun-kissed knees, my day-to-day look was Princess Diana during the summer she divorced Charles. I was confident, casual and cool. Little did I know it would all come crashing down.
Oh, we spent so much money on prosecco to begin with but then notions set in. We guzzled Aperol Spritzes like we were George and Amal Clooney in Lake Como. We drank so much of it that Aldi even introduced a cheaper version of Aperol. Aperini, I believe it was called, and you could buy a bottle for €7.99. Imagine that? €7.99. You couldn’t even get a sip of water for €7.99 now. Oh, it was a different time. Aperini Spritz was the Kool-Aid of the day, now that donut craze hit its own sugary version of the Wall Street Crash, but we didn’t mind. We drank it out on the streets of Fade Street, with the smoking areas of different bars rolling into one. Of course that area is all gone now, it’s all 24-hour vending machines instead.
Oh, but we indulged ourselves that summer. I went on many an Asos splurge. Do the kids still use Asos? Oh, that’s all 24-hour vending machines too. I guess it was only a matter of time for that to happen. It’s funny how you can think that some things will last forever, isn’t it? But I went on a splurge buying shorts and culottes and little tops, thinking that our new paradise would be a permanent fixture.
There was one day - I’ll never forget it - one day where temperatures in Nobber, Co. Meath were higher than Ibiza but that’s not so shocking now, is it? That was the same day we celebrated Pride weekend and you couldn’t buy a bag of ice in Ireland. Not one. Our Spritzs were warm but, I suppose, we were so far into our reliance on Aperini that we’d take it in any condition. Maybe that was the first sign that we’d taken things too far.
An air of paranoia took over the country. Neighbours were reporting on each other for using hosepipes on their dying gardens. With the windows wide open all summer, no one was even hiding behind their curtains anymore. We were told that Ireland was running out of water. We were also told that the globe itself was turning into a hothouse - nothing to do with The Hothouse Flowers or Liam Ó Maonlaí… apparently - so we took extra caution with recycling. It was the least we could do, what with us never cleaning up our cans and bottles from evenings drinking down by the canal. Sure, we were as good as gold cleaning up after ourselves at Euro 2016 in France but we couldn’t do it at home. We had truly lost the run of ourselves.
What was that? Jackets? Gosh. I haven’t heard that name in years. What do you call them now? Ah, jackets still. The old memory isn’t what it used to be. But we gave up on wearing them by mid-June. We were so brazen. Just leaving the house with one layer on. Some people had given all of their jackets away to charity shops. I held onto mine for a rainy day, not knowing that it would come sooner than we were ready for. I was beyond the point of perspiring at that stage. I couldn’t tell where my body ended and sweat began. I was a mixture of sweat and dust and nothing could cool me down. I used to have three fans on me at once - three! like some hussy - and their effect had worn off; they just didn’t give me the rush that they used to.
It did get cold again. It rained too. We had all the elements, each one bigger and bolder than we’d ever experienced. Winters were long and harsh and our summers… Well, our summers were as strong as we were deranged. Never learning from our mistakes, we continued to let those three balmy months brainwash us into thinking that this is how we lived all year round, with those same jesters buying jackets only to burn them in a fit of passion come June.
The temperatures continued to rise every summer - those scientists were right in the end, weren’t they? - but our winters remained as bone-chattering and vicious as ever. The damp sinking into our skin and taking hold of our breath like it was the grim reaper itself. Oh, but it was a glorious time all the same, the heatwave of 2018. Every time the traffic lights turn orange, the smell of Aperini fills my nostrils. At night, I still wake myself up screaming “It would be rude not to”, imagining another offering of charcoaled sausages on an already overloaded plate.
What advice do I offer to those going through a heatwave? Remember that September is coming and hold onto your jeans. It may not feel like it now but you will need them again.