A two-percent perfect world

I’M freezing!

I didn’t come here to freeze. I came here because it was tropical and instead of hypothermia I could have berri berri or malaria.

Well all right, I’m not freezing because the temperature has not yet dropped below zero, but it’s all relative. I feel as if I’m freezing and that’s good enough for me.

My wife tells me it is warmer here than it was in London yesterday. And that it’s warmer here than it is in Helsinki anytime.

You think I care what people put up with in the far-flung, glacier-bound reaches of the world! I came here because it was hot. I like hot. I remember the year I arrived, when I leapt gleefully into the ocean in early July, watched by groups of stunned locals.

But something has happened. I am writing with a heater humming away at my feet and I’m still as cold as a mullet on a marble slab. They say the greenhouse effect is warming the world up, but they overlooked what it’s like in a greenhouse when the sun goes down.

It’s worst for my nose. If I could get someone to knit me a nose cosy I’d wear it to bed. There appears to be no efficient way of keeping one’s nose warm in bed. Either you keep it under the covers and suffocate, or you leave it exposed and the wind whips up it and turns your brain to arctic waste.

I suppose I’ve acclimatised.

Is it always going to be like this? I mean, if I did live in Helsinki would I strip down to my waist when the snow started to melt? If I went to heaven (huh!) would I slowly sicken of nectar and ambrosia and yearn for something with a little more… tart?

It’s not as if I’m very comfortable with the heat of New Year, when I feel limp as a shoelace.

Am I doomed to live in a world that is forever 49 percent too little, 49 percent too much and two percent perfect. Too little noise, too much noise; too few people, too many people; too little rain, too much rain, too little heat, too much heat?

I think it’s the human condition. Yearning for things to be perfect, thinking that they’re not. I remember sitting with my wife and a glass of wine at Gaugin’s restaurant on the Esplanade watching the boats bustle home in the dwindling light, a faint breeze fanning away any hint of excessive warmth, and thinking, “This is perfect. If only it could stay like this forever…”

But if it tried, I’d be drumming my fingers on the table within 20 minutes and wondering why it was so hard to read the menu.

We bought our house because it was perfect. For two weeks we sat in it and admired its perfection. The third week we grew irritable and started snapping at each other. In the fourth we knocked a hole though from the dining room to the lounge.

One day we’ll finish the job; but not too soon. If the place was perfect it would be bloody unbearable.