I have a friend whom I suspect was created by NASA. She’s impervious to rain, heat or cold; she can backflip across a dance floor and buy a dress in five minutes flat (superhuman indeed). She’s little, understand, but the first and only line of defence.
The problem with being the friend of NASA is that a) you’re lame and b) you’re exposed to extreme conditions for which you’re wholly unprepared. You end up in extended foetal, while she’s twirling in a dervish of Wonder Woman proportions.
Cut to: Australia Day.
It was hot, damn hot.
The kind of hot where you begin to mutter “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a woman” to yourself in concentric circles. And so disgustingly humid, I felt as if someone’d slimed fish bait up the length of me (like fake tan on Miss Carolina of 94). Usually, nothing could induce me to leave the sanctuary of my abode on a day such as this, but NASA is one of my favourite peeps; so when she calls and chirps ‘let’s go get ‘em!’, I agree against my body’s better judgement.
The sun was vicious that day, my friends.
I’m pastey white and more freckled than Leopard Depardieu so I know, I can’t afford to stay out longer than ten minutes before glowing red like a nuclear core. Understand, the sunburn lines I acquire today, will be with me for a year tomorrow. But my usual method of skipping from shadow to shadow like a cartoon villain is thwarted, and I have diabolically failed to bring a brolly. (A mistake which would come to haunt me and spawn an obsession for umbrellas that would one day spiral out of control).
My blood begins to simmer … along with my anxiety levels, but not one bead of sweat breaks out on NASA’s noggin. She might as well’ve been standing under aircon in her undies, I tell you. She suggests we walk across town, in the heat, sans shade, and I limply follow – my sweaty footprints landing on the asphalt in a soft sizzle.
By the demise of the day, I’m a beetroot shadow of my former self … curled, beaten and sobbing in a shadow of a bumble bee; whilst she remains glorious and golden, like Zena the Warrior Princess. Not a drop of sweat, not a bra snap of discomfort, not a lobster of sunburn.
The injustice was great, the day long … but the respect for NASA would last forever.