Often it starts just as the working day kicks off, perhaps with a weird raised hive somewhere subtle like right in the middle of my forehead. So that’s relaxing. As I sit in a meeting and press a bottle of cold water to the little white mound that is pleading with me to itch it and itch it and itch it until it goes red and bleeds and looks like a spot and needs covering up for a good ten days.
I open the water to knock back an anti-histamine but not before my eyeballs start to scratch and smart and I bash at them with the balls of my fists like a big, angry baby. Mascara? At this time of year? That would be a rookie move.
sBecause it’s prickly, tickly, scratchy season. When bumps are busting out all over. I don’t care if it’s pollen or birch or pollution, all I know is that I am terrifying to behold – all swollen and misshapen – and I itch like a motherfucker.
Itchy fingers all swollen, itchy between the toes, itchy bra-diggy-in-heat rash. Small bumps on my chest and funny bites on my calves. Itchy head sweat and – through the night – restless itch syndrome. And that’s just on the outside.
My throat tickles and I want to punch myself in the nose to stop it feeling so twitchily itchy. I itch to be left alone, in a darkened room. I itch to start fights and drink too much just to take my mind off the big, urban summer itch. I’m allergic to life. If you ask me, summer in the city just doesn’t work: we all look as though we’re in fancy dress and we all behave like deranged toddlers and the tube is unacceptable and the streets smell plus we’re all a bit frightened. This is not balmy bliss. This is itchy panic: nothing feels right.