It is the hottest day of the year and I am stuck in an office writing content for you. You need the content, is the thing. Technically you are not my master but you make demands of me anyway. "Write for me, Joel," you whine. "Irreverently look sideways at the news and write about five paragraphs more than you really need to about something." Do you know how hard it is to sit here and try to write 1,000-plus semi-interesting words, every single day of the year? And then you go on Twitter, don't you, some of you, you go on Twitter and you call me a "wet twat" because I said something vaguely derogatory about your shithole hometown in passing. You call me a "turd" and "the worst cunt". I only do this for you.
It is the hottest day of the year and here I am again. Here in an office in a chair, while my friends from VICE News and other VICE offices get to gambol around Berlin and Beirut and Athens and LA. Here tapping at a laptop and trying to focus. Let me talk to you about my sweat: there is some on my back and in my armpits. Junk area still good but it's early. Do you know how much more bearable this would be if I were in a park with a Corona? Do you know how much I want to roll up my trousers and put my hot, hot feet in a paddling pool right now? But I can't, because you need to read something while you're sat pretending to work. You need to alt-tab on to some form of escape from your horrible life and job, as you are waiting – praying – for Sandra from HR to stand up and say, "Right, I'm going to the shop for a Magnum, does anyone want one?"
I want to be outside with a pint. I want to be sat in a park with some tins. I want to be on a beach with an ice cream and some babes. I want to dip my hot little feet in the sea. I am sat at a keyboard making content for you. The laptop is hot and the office is air conditioned. I am wearing a shirt because it is slightly more comfortable than a T-shirt. This is not the kind of office you can wear a shirt in without someone taking the piss. Fellow staff writers call me "Joel from accounts" when I wear a shirt. I have to take this because it is too hot to fight. I have to do this to dull the hot pain of sitting in the same chair for nine hours writing content for you. My body is so hot. My hands glisten with dewy sweat. A pig with a beard is calling me an accountant. And they say this job is easy. Easier than a coal miner's.
People ask, they say: How do I get your job? Students email me and say: I want your job. Tell me how to get your job. They are like ancient tribesmen, the students, sick with the belief that if they slay me and consume my heart and follow my deviating career path then they, too, one day, could be sat in an office chair on the hottest day of the year writing content for you.
Do you not understand that no man alive has been through such torture as me?
I am good at being in the sun, is the thing. I am sun safe as all hell. I wear my suncream and I reapply it. I have a good collection of blankets I can put down beneath me if I want to sit on some grass without getting mud all up the arse bit of my trousers. I know how to jerry-rig an impromptu icebox out of a bucket and some ice. I have sunglasses. I do not have bongos. I do not sit in circles. I am the perfect man to have sat in your park. I am a patient ice-cream van queuer. I do not ever complain if you sit vaguely near me and get a portable iPod speaker out and start playing not one but multiple songs by Bastille. That's how chill I am in the sun; it relaxes me. My worries melt away. I can stand to hear Bastille.
Because of you – because of you, the manacles around my wrist – the closest I will get to enjoying the sun today is my lunch hour, where everyone on our desk will go, "Lunch?", and some fucker will have to take a detour to a cashpoint, and we will all en masse have to queue at two separate lunch places because someone always wants a salad instead of the sandwiches the rest of us want, and then we are walking to the park with flapping hands full of napkins and little white paper bags of lunch food, sat making small talk, enjoying the sun but not truly enjoying it, nervously glancing always at our watches because eventually we will have to come back to the office and generate more content for you.
Fifteen, that's how many minutes I'll actually get reclining in the sun today. With all the walking there and the walking back, out of an hour: Fifteen. Fifteen minutes. Fifteen.
The torture never ends, because I will go home tonight and I will not sleep. I will not sleep because my bedroom is a sweatlodge now. This city. This disgusting, dusty city. I will not sleep because of the flies that worm their way through my open window. I will not sleep over the sound of an oscillating fan. I will not sleep with the worry that this content I created for you wasn't good enough and that tomorrow I will lose my job. "A lot of complaints on this one, Joel," my boss will say. "The content you provide for free wasn't deemed good enough by the wailing masses, so it's time for your P45." My boss is saying, "You always sort of knew this would happen."
The sun is warm and hot, the sun is luxury and pleasure. The sun is a rare orchid shining on this grey and damp green country for just one day. I want my freckles to join up into the approximation of a tan. I want to snooze in the heat. I want to wear big, long swimming trunks and flip flops. I am here making content for you. I want to be on a beach putting sand in a sandcastle mould and being disappointed – as I constantly am – by the fact that the sandcastle comes out looking like a collapsed turd. I want to have a 100m race with a wet-from-the-sea Labrador. I want a cold Coke and a crunchy Corona. I want to push the lime in with my thumb and forget all my worries. I am here making content for you. Do you know how good people look in the sun? I want to go and look at people. I want to watch people giggling and having fun. Getting rounds in and laughing. Taking Instagram photos off rooftop bars. I want to eat chips on the seaside as the red sun sets. I want to walk home without a jacket in the cooling heat of the day. I want my freedom, I want my joy. I am here making content for you.
Joel Golby isn't always this depressed about working here – follow him for daily proof: @joelgolby
Top image: Enesse Bhé
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