On a whim, I decide to wear a yellow shirt to work. There are no dress codes out here, but light greys, shiny whites and spartan blues are the most likely colours that peek out from beneath the heavy, grey jumpers that are de rigueur around these parts. It is a relatively mild seven degrees, less the wind chill and I feel sufficiently warm enough to ditch my heavy overcoat in favour of a lighter jacket.
I get a few odd looks as I stride through the doors at a bright and early 8.30 am, but no one comments until I show up at the corner office that houses the two much older guys on the team who have been on for forever it seems, just past 10.00am. One of them is a taciturn English man – complete with a posh accent and hair greying gracefully at the temples – who is always properly dressed, dress down Friday or not. The other is a more gregarious middle aged Scotman, always up for a pint, with a keen wit, and that uncommon ability to deliver sarcastic barbs in that understated manner that only an aged Yoruba man can manage flawlessly.
– Dressing for summer already here are we?, the slightly more gregarious one asks. He and I have had way too many Friday afternoons of banter around the coffee machine on subjects as diverse as immigration, the benefits system and the bid for Scottish independence; and he seems up for a quick joust this Monday morning. I have my sleeves rolled up just past my elbows, one hand in my pocket and with the other clutch a pack of drawings to my chest.
I dump the drawings I want him to review on his desk and pat down my sleeves thinking my rolling them up is what he is taking umbrage at, but he smiles slyly and proceeds to allay my concern.
– I mean the yellow shirt, son. It’s too early for that. Yellow shirts are for summer only.
I point to the sunlight streaming in through the blinds behind him, and we all laugh at the obvious illusion. I make to leave – he is a great talker, and I’m not keen to burn a few hours just yet. Before I can escape, he mentions his daughter is headed to New Orleans. It is her gap year, and she is spending it country hopping. Bank balance apart, he is glad she’s keeping out of trouble and enjoying herself. I ooh and ahh, throwing in a nod here and there as he regales me with bits and pieces of her itinerary.
When I finally peel myself away from him, I am left with a sense that I could use some heat – and a cuddle – just now.. The bright sunny days that were last summer seem like a lifetime ago.