Save Yourselves

Global Warming Behaviour: a Checklist

Just a fun (and not existentially alarming) list!

by Lauren O'Neill and Emma Garland
28 February 2019, 10:38pm

A man sunbathing on the hottest February day in London. Photo: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

The seasons bring out humanity's various shades of madness. In the summer there is Heatwave Behaviour, which is when you sleep with your head out the window and crack a tinny on your way to work. In winter, it's Christmas Behaviour, when you spend £40 on cheeses as if that is a completely normal thing to do, and start crying when you lose your place on the sellotape. The world turns; these states of mind set in.

Famously, however, the planet is malfunctioning. The seasons are not doing what they are supposed to do – this time last year we were collectively digging out our one pair of Dr Martens so we didn’t stack it in the snow), and this week we've been frantically trying to organise park barbecues. Summer, it seems, has showed its cards early this year. As in, in February.

Though things have now got gloomier, the last few days have been full of glorious sunshine for most parts of the UK. This is, on one hand: lovely! You can hang your washing out! Going outside is not bone-chilling. On the other: this weather is existentially terrifying and serves as a constant reminder that we have advanced too much (like, as a species we were never meant to come far enough that we’d need to invent a spiraliser, surely?) and killed the planet in the process.

And so, these contradictions leave us with Global Warming Behaviour (GWB), which is a very chaotic way of being indeed. GWB is what happens when your brain tries to do Heatwave Behaviour (HB) two months into the year, as it also tries to process the fact that humanity's days are numbered. What follows is a sort of desperation – 'Our days are numbered,' you think, Solero in hand. 'So really, I should… try to get as much summer as possible in before the planet becomes uninhabitable? Is that... right?' The next minute you're googling "paddling pool argos" in the ninth week of the year. Here are the other telltale signs you’ve gone full GWB:

GOING TO A BEER GARDEN AFTER WORK WHEN IT IS LITERALLY DARK OUT

British people actually have six senses. Hearing, sight, taste, touch, smell, yes, and then the last one, which is an inbuilt radar for Getting So On It You Give Yourself Heatstroke whenever the temperature gets to about 15 degrees. We seem to suffer from a compulsion whereby as soon as the sun comes out we’re creating a new group chat and inviting everyone we’ve ever met to a pub that we are describing as "pretty central" and with "a beer garden with a nice vibe x".

In the summer, this is all well and good; normal, maybe even encouraged. But the Global Warming Behaviour version is very sad indeed: you got too excited, arranged to meet some mates for a balmy evening of wines and fags in the sun, but crucially forgot that it still gets dark, and indeed quite chilly, at 6PM. One mate comes to meet you and you sit inside drinking Heineken.

SEASONALLY INAPPROPRIATE SNACKING

Ice Lolly Global Warming Behaviour
Photo by Emma Garland, sufferer of GWB

Two weeks ago you were stockpiling mixed nuts at work because going outside was simply too unpleasant to contemplate. Backpack heavy with energy bars, sachets of tea with names like "throat comfort", and a tupperware of batch-cooked soup. Every inch of your body covered as though direct exposure to Britain’s brisk five-degree temperatures would cause instant frostbite. You would sit at your desk, and you would stay there until it was time to go directly home and get into bed fully dressed. This is winter’s terrible dance.

This week, at least 45 minutes of your working days have been lost to walking around the shops near your office in a light jacket trying to decide who has the best ice lolly selection. Dizzy on the placebo effect of a clear blue sky, your body and brain are now at war with one another. Body says: "want Twister", but brain says: "It's February, have you considered depression and a multivitamin instead?" Body always wins, of course, but this also means you lose the right to go "IT’S FUCKING JANUARY" next time the ice cream man begins his rounds on New Year’s Day.

GETTING DRUNK ON YOUR LUNCH BREAK

The logical extension of inappropriate snacking is inappropriate drinking. You’ve decided to have lunch on the one scorched patch of grass near your office block – enjoy it, we’re all doomed anyway! – and as you pick out your horrible Tesco meal deal sandwich you scan a couple of gin in tins through. You do it during the summer! Why not now?

Probably because you’ll spend the rest of your afternoon fighting sleep, leaving work in the literal dark with the beginnings of a hangover. Not advised!

POSSIBLE INTERFERENCE WITH THE DATING CYCLE

When you fuck with the weather, you fuck with fucking. Just as the ocean is tied to the gravitational pull of the moon, so too are the libidos of British citizens synchronised with the temperature.

The traditional dating cycle goes like this: September to December: Cuffing Season; January – March: Clearing Season; March – September: a sopping free for all. The intricacies of this, however, are predicated on human nature. Most people don’t want to spend the winter months cold and alone, binge-watching BBC dramas with a hot water bottle between their thighs. Equally, the nature of summer is such that is actually harder NOT to have sex with a stranger. Accelerate the temperature and you accelerate the cycle. What will become of us by June if the thirsties start coming out of the woodwork in mid-February? Social media is already full of selfies of people basking in parks with their arms out, captioned: "thank you global warming for the good lighting *sparkles*". If this is to be our new normal, sheer exhaustion will see us off before famine does.

1551364581832-heatwave
Photo: Jake Lewis

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE HEATING

If anyone has figured out the correct number of hours and also the correct times the heating should be on inside a two-up, two-down house, please comment. I have spent approximately a week creating different combinations with the boiler and not one of them has prevented me from going to bed cold and waking up sweating from my legs.

GETTING OVEREXCITED AND BOOKING NEXT WEEK OFF WHEN THE WEATHER WILL INEVITABLY BE SHIT AND ALL YOUR INDIGNATION REGARDING GLOBAL WARMING GOES OUT THE WINDOW AS YOU DO AN ANGRY THREAD ON TWITTER ABOUT IT BEING A NORMAL, NON-ALARMING TEMPERATURE

Best to save your annual leave for April, probably.

'BARBECUE?'

The Big Seasonal Joke about British people is that we all start walking topless around shopping districts as soon as it’s mild for more than four consecutive hours, but this is false. The first thing we do upon noticing that it’s "nice out" is start dropping the word "barbecue" at every possible opportunity. You wake up, open the curtains and feel the warm embrace of the sun cascading down your cheeks, and something from deep inside you whispers: barbecue weather. At one point you legitimately suggest having one, then realise that lighting a disposable in the garden just so you can eat charcoal-grilled food at the kitchen table is simply cuisine's answer to glamping.

RELATED: BOOKING A HOLIDAY

One bit of sun and you’re on Skyscanner as if it’s August and you’re shopping for last minute deals. You got a bit drunk at the weekend and now you, your engaged mates and the weird colleague of one of them – who's called, like, Jake or something – are in possession of £14 each-way flights to Budapest in two weeks, because they are the people you were in a beer garden with when someone (you) got their (your) phone out, going, "Shall we do it? Shall we just FUCKING do it?"

Now you’ve got to book an Airbnb and buy a jumpers without holes in, because the average temperature for Budapest in March is actually ten degrees.

1551365082898-heatwave-3
Photo: Jake Lewis

SMALL TALK HAS CHANGED FROM 'WOW YEAH NICE OUT INIT' TO 'MAD HOW WE'RE LIVING IN AN INFERNO!'

I bought a coffee the other day and this is what I said to the barista, more or less verbatim:

"Hey, can I have an iced latte please? Wow, haha, iced coffee in February, so weird. I feel like I’m not like, really loving it though because I’m scared about dying. Like, the planet is burning! Haha! £3? Can I pay on card?"

GWB, it must be noted, has ripped the throat out of small talk.

JOY FOR NO REASON

While walking about doing "research" for this "article" we saw one girl chase another out of their place of work with a mop, get the handle stuck in the fence of a building site somehow and then just collapse in the road, screaming with laughter, the same way kids do when they’ve had too many e-numbers and make you watch them fall over on purpose over and over again. No idea what was actually going on here, but all clues point to: spectacular pranking of boss that will potentially lead to a disciplinary, or Global Warming Behaviour.

@hiyalauren / @emmaggarland