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Holidays? Give me a break!

Jul 08, 2016

I was never the sort of person who felt the need of a holiday from work, I really enjoyed my job (honest!), and always tried to maintain a phlegmatic view of life. That was, of course, until three days before I was actually due to go on holiday; then things would start to go wrong. All sorts of problems would slowly but inexorably materialise. Vehicles would break down; VAT inspectors would want to visit; customers would become more and more demanding; cheques would bounce; the coffee machine would fail to work and goodness knows what else. As a consequence, sleepless nights would ensue accompanied by early mornings until: ‘It’s my last day before I go away and boy do I need this holiday!’

And what happens? You promise everyone at home that you will leave the office promptly at 5:00 and at 4:50 pm you decide to have a last look at your e-mails (big mistake!). You scroll through them: that’s ok, that’s ok, and that’s ok. Wait a minute ‘what’s this one from the landlord – burst pipe - entrance to warehouse closed at the end of next week.’ *:1?#**!!. Or words to that effect.

You phone your partner and apologise that you won’t be home until 6:30. This of course does not go down particularly well, but your supper does - down the waste disposal unit. Inevitably, the problem is solved, and as you arrive home just after 7:00 pm you happen to bump into your next door neighbour who informs you that you look as if you need a holiday. ‘Why don’t you clear off and mind you own business you old fool!’ – This of course is voiced within your thoughts with hopefully no influence upon the friendly smile artificially planted on your pallid face.

‘Hi everyone I’m home’ is your plaintiff cry. The initial response is a very loud silence, but before you know it you are having to decide what clothes need to be packed, when, in fact, you are so shell shocked you really couldn’t give a damn – Gone with The Wind is perhaps a good indication of your current demeanour. There is, of course, no point in going on about what a tough day you’ve had and there is no point in mentioning your problem concerning a burst pipe as this would only illicit a humorous remark about going to see a doctor. This is not a laughing matter!

Don’t get me wrong, holidays are great. It is just the fact that, paradoxically, the mere act of preparing to go away on holiday often creates the need for one. But anyway, come the morning, we’re off and once you’ve wound down from the initial shock of preparation, which normally takes a few days - during which time you really keep wanting to look at your emails or contact the office - you finally sink in to a state of mind in which all of your problems seem very far away. Your need to get involved declines and finally you reach a condition which can only be described as similar to that which existed about three days before you actually came away.

Family holidays are fun of course, they are renewing, and essential for family cohesion. The problem is that if you go away for two weeks, the first week always passes very slowly and the second week rockets by and of course three days before you are due to return, you start thinking about ‘the office’. You know that you shouldn’t, but that’s the nature of things and, before you know where you are, you’re back home. But that’s fine ‘it’s nice to be here and I’m feeling good and it was certainly worth the money and the family had a good time’.

Then it’s back to work and ‘boy do I look good with this fresh tan’, and what happens? Within barely an hour, all of the benefits of your holiday slowly sink into the background and pretty soon it seems just like a distant memory. Of course there was that problem with the burst water pipe before you went away, which caused you so much anxiety, and which everyone seemed to cope with really very well. Naturally we are always going to come back to some problems, that’s the very nature of things. But do you know what? The biggest problem I had to face was the fact that the coffee machine was still not working and, in addition, my next door neighbour doesn’t seem to be talking to me!

Have a really good summer. 

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