Perhaps the title of this blog is a little premature, since the most unbearable – or glorious, depending on your work plans – days are yet to come.
A few weeks ago – during our first heatwave of the season – one of the agencies who keeps me quite busy asked what my plans were for the summer.
I cheerily responded immediately that I would be working throughout the summer. I informed them that it would, however, be best to contact me in the morning, since the heat in the holiday-makers’ heaven of the Algarve would most likely incapacitate me most afternoons.
That was not the exact wording of my reply, of course, but you get the gist.
I went on to assure the agency that the number of hours I would be working would essentially remain the same.
I arrived at the veracity of this statement via some incredibly creative mathematics, but who is to say it is not true, since I am the only one who knows how many hours I normally work?
In my defense, a quick look at my worksheet for the past three weeks would seem to indicate that I was telling the truth, though only God knows how I did it – and, as my mother used to say, He is not telling.
Whilst feeling incredibly lethargic at the time of replying to this e-mail, despite imbibing vast quantities of cold water, I repeated the statement about my ability to respond quickly to e-mails sent in the afternoon being limited. Obviously, my brain was engaging the slow motion gear, and derived comfort from such repetition.
The enervating effect of having to type and think at the same time in a heat which I dozily notice causes the veins to bulge on the back of my hands so very beautifully results in auditory hallucinations. I fancy I hear my bed calling me. Naturally, I resist at first. But my bed has such a persistence in her voice… I digress.
At this juncture, I wondered how much of my “limitations” I should reveal to my client. I decided on the modest approach. The reason is quite simple.
I did not want this esteemed client to conjure up an enduring image of me supine, half-naked and perspiring, and drooling or snoring or both while sleeping in “the middle of the day”. Such an image which could well last well into the middle of next winter if I were descriptive enough, and run riot through the client’s mind during every subsequent contact. Oh, no. Too horrid to contemplate.
The idea as a freelance translator, I gather, is not only to cultivate an image of cool professional efficiency, but to be the very embodiment thereof. One should strive to maintain a business-like approach at all times.
Since you are now wondering why I am given to drooling, I shall also confess that I never work in my pyjamas or nearest equivalent, although I take full advantage of the freelancer slipper benefit. I always make my bed and have a shower and dress in clean, ironed clothes, and do the housework daily. My home is as neat as a pin (silly expression), although I would rather meet a deadline than wash the dishes if a toss-up between the two is critical. My desk is invariably well-ordered and tidy, and I hope my mind is too.
Like many others, I work hard, and therefore believe I am fully justified in revelling in the essential oblivion that overcomes me when I succumb during summer heatwaves to extended siestas!
(Written with absolutely no apologies whatsoever to those freezing their toes off in other parts of the world.)
The word in bold appeared in the previous post.