It’s summer in the shop.
The sun above me is a 300 watt halogen up-lighter.
“Don’t you get hot in ‘ere with all these lights?” a customer asks.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they gave me a tan. But they don’t, they’re just hot.
I decide to give up jeans.
From now on I’m only going to wear pretty, light-weight skirts.
I skip over to the Dress Shop and buy two short, flowery ones.
On my first day of wearing one a delivery man comes with a 1.2m² box which doesn’t fit through the shop door.
“Don’t you have a back entrance?” he asks.
So he leaves me and the box outside the shop and drives away.
It’s a windy day and my skirt swells like a plastic bag then flies up.
I hold it down at the front but then to my horror, the back shoot ups.
There’s a wolf whistle from a passing van and I hurry inside.
I ring Mum to tell her about the box.
“Keep an eye on it,” she says.
But I want to do more than that so I go back outside with a Stanley knife.
The wind plays at the hem of my skirt and I feel nervous.
I stand between my shop window and the box and lean over it to cut through the sellotape. As I lift open one of the flaps, a gust of wind whips the polystyrene pellets out of the box and sends a flurry of them down the street.
“Aaah!” I cry, and press down on the box before another artificial snow storm can escape.
While I’m trying to stick down the sellotape a whoosh of air swoops under my skirt and reveals my knickers to a second passing van.
Red-cheeked, I go back inside and ring Mum again.
“15 minutes,” she says.
When she arrives, we cut a hole in the side of the box. We tilt the box so the pellets fall through the hole into a bag.
It’s slow work but finally we empty it enough to get the huge light out and leave the remains of the freak snowstorm to blow away down the street.
We cut the box down so it’s small enough to fit through the door. After that I get inside the box and shovel the rest of the polystyrene pellets into bags.
Skirts aren’t ideal for the shop but they’re still a lot cooler than trousers so I persevere.
I wear one on my day off. It’s a date and we’re going somewhere posh to celebrate a year together.
The wind starts as I’m walking towards the tube station.
It’s sudden and so strong. My skirt begins to flap and I grab onto one side and hurry on through the gates.
On that single journey I notice the tube cultivates its own wind.
It’s at the top of escalators and outside the lifts.
It teases you when you change platforms and chases you down the emergency stairs.
The worst thing is, in my local station, the wind is most powerful by the ticket machines.
When I come back from my indulgent date I go straight over to top up my oyster card. It’s forward thinking because I know I’ll have to catch a bus later.
The wind tears around me like a tornado. My skirt beats about my ears.
I try to hold it between my legs but it flies up at the back. I try to hold it over my bottom but then it blows up at the front.
I battle to keep it down as I push a two pound coin into the slot. But it’s hopeless.
I feel like the whole world is watching me squeaking in panic and failing to cover myself up.
I give up trying to feed more money into the machine and hurry to finish the transaction. I need to press my pass against the machine to register the £2. I let go of my skirt to flick my pass at the sensor, then without checking the screen I rush out of the station towards calmer streets.
When I get on the bus, my pass makes a negative bleep.
“You have no money on it,” the driver says.
I’m dismayed. Wearing a skirt has lost me two whole pounds.
“Blow that, I would’ve let everyone see my knickers,” Mum says, when I tell her.
It dawns on me how right she is.
“Next time I will.”