The Parental Visitation

There aren’t many examples of it, but as I sit here on Easter Sunday in the midst (tragically) of the third act of the bank holiday weekend, it is somewhat different than normal.

Yesterday my parents arrived for a two day visit. They decided, somewhat impromptu, to visit me since they were both on holiday from work and all my other siblings had deserted them. I had a feeling it might happen, as we had briefly talked about it when I was last home, but here it is. Now happening.

It’s nearly two years since they were here last. It’s always good when they visit, because they get to see what a bachelor (haha) life I am leading. The house is in bad need of some attention. So we usually do a tip run, and maybe increase the furnishings of the house just modestly. But they are highly critical of everything here, including such sparsity as there being no lightbulb in the room they are sleeping in (I never use the room, so I forgot! It happens!)

It’s all quite interesting, to be honest. I know there are lots of things that I need to sort out. I just never get the time. I feel like I should make the house nicer to live in, but it’s generally not something I’m good at. I look at the bare walls and think “hmm. What would I put there?” People say photos, art prints, other personal things. I just look at them and think. Hmm. What would I put there? It’s beyond not knowing. It’s actually not caring. I do not care one bit. I don’t know how to. Other people have imagination, and enjoy putting their personal touch. I. Simply. Do. Not. Care.

But what I do care about is what other people think when they visit. So when my parents tell me the environment is somewhat “inhospitable” I start to think maybe I should at least make it have a little more friendliness to my guests, however infrequent they are. I worry about that. I am, in all aspects of my life, somewhat worried about people may “think” of me. Even though I know that that is not a sensible way to live over the long term.

Parking that issue to one side though, it is still nice that my parents are here. We’ve had a nice leisurely breakfast, and we’re going out for something to eat in an hour or so. A nice stroll into town will do us wonders, even though I know my mum and dad don’t really do walking any more (welcome to my non-driving world). We get on pretty well with our jokes, but I generally don’t enjoy watching crap on the TV, which they are both inanely doing now whilst I sit solitarily in my bedroom writing up the latest nonsense that has arrived in my brain.

The most exciting part of my life though, that I’m now on the third day off out of four, is still wonderful. The sanctuary will end tomorrow, when the fourth arrives and I will feel like work is imminently returning. But it just reminds me how much I love Easter. Not because of its religious aspect, but because of its wonderful back-to-back bank holidays. I feel all the more rested for it.

Here’s to holidays. I need more of them.

The Banks Are On Holiday

It’s Bank Holiday Monday, and I’m here again. Why, it feels like it must be 2005, posting every few days…

And the good news is that, in exactly two weeks time, it will also be a Bank Holiday. Hurrah.

It has been a “busy” weekend. And by busy I mean I have spent most of my time working. I spent virtually all of my Easter Sunday doing some monumentally tedious work on my company’s “Quality Management System”. This is a remarkably dull piece of documentation that waffles and repeats itself many times, all of the sake of showing that we are, apparently, worthy of doing the work we are doing.

This wasn’t the plan when I discussed Easter Sunday in my post on Saturday. But when I looked at the forecast, it made more sense to have an afternoon off on Saturday, while there was some actual sunshine, and then get stuck indoors all of Sunday instead, while it rained. It worked perfectly.

The consequence is that, today, I genuinely have nothing to do. Nothing pressing, work wise, anyway. I could do odd chores instead. I could clean the bathroom. I could mop the kitchen floor. I could play my guitar a lot – which I have brought home from the office for this very reason.

But maybe I will actually do none of those. There’s a bit of sunshine outside at the moment as I gaze out the window. It looks good. It makes me want to go outside… for a little bit. It makes me want to just spend a little time away from my “desk”. Then maybe watch DVDs all day.

Then I look around at my desk here at home, and am disgusted at its mess. It could really really do with being taken off, cleaned, and then only the important things put back. That sounds like a good plan. Maybe after the walk?

Yesterday, I was invited in for Easter Sunday breakfast with my neighbour. That was nice. We had muesli, boiled eggs (with soldiers) and then an extra piece of toast. With honey. And I had already had a bowl of Weetabix at home. Well, the cheap Weetabix. That was basically my Easter. It’s a far cry from my family Easters that I was used to over the years…

I did the phone call home. It was spent, as usual, listening to my mum talking, as she does. I don’t mind… (too much)… but it also made me a bit depressed. We don’t speak on the phone that often any more. It used to be a regular thing, at least once a week. Now it might be only once every fortnight, or longer. And when we were speaking, my mum was telling me about the terrible nerve pains she’s been having for over a month now. The doctors don’t seem to be helping. The physio hasn’t worked.

It’s worrying. It all reminds me of the days, weeks, months and years that are passing in the blink of an eye. Health doesn’t last forever.

Wow. Now I do need a walk to clear my head.

The Readjustment

Every year, post-Christmas, post-New Year, there has to be a re-adjustment. It is that tragic and depressing time when one realises Life Must Continue.

For days I live in denial. The interregnum between Christmas and New Year provides two bookends of protection. During this zone I can comfortably wave away concerns about time-wasting and self-indulgence.

Then you slip across the New Year precipice. New Year’s Day is always an odd affair, filled with tiredness and usually too much food. It allows you to ignore crossing the rubicon. But then the 2nd occurs.

For this year, like most years, the 2nd was a turning point. I had, this year, made a deliberate decision to actually leave my phone off. I have always set my voicemail message to say I’m on holiday, but often leaving my phone on, so people hear it ring and have to wait for the message. But this year, my phone was very firmly off – meaning I didn’t even see, hear or otherwise sense that a caller was waiting.

This made a big difference psychologically.

Until the 2nd, of course.

Because it’s not possible to leave your phone off forever. My phone (a smartphone) is also a leisure device. So switching it on to receive internet to do some Googling or to play some silly games, or download an app, or whatever… inevitably resulted in the receiving of the “you have 15 voicemails” and the deluge of e-mails arriving.

In reality, although my holiday only “officially” ended yesterday, it ended many days ago. I have been trying to deny it for days, but it is now here.

The readjustment usually takes several days. By the end of this week I will be back to 12/13 hour workdays, and no semblance of life or leisure beyond the fleeting glimpses I obtain of a Sunday.

Today I am travelling away from the parental home. I am leaving behind the place where I have spent the last two weeks relaxing and, in the most part, getting away from work. It has worked to some degree. I do feel better, but I also feel dread.

Everyone does. Everyone dreads the return of mundanity, and reality. Life is tedious at the best of times, and utterly, exasperatingly, frustrating due to the nature of the work I do. The nature of constantly dealing with people who are significantly at odds with the technology they use grinds me down. I felt it yesterday when I was on the phone with a customer. I felt the internal rage building, something I haven’t felt for weeks. It’s not good for me. I am an extraordnarily patient person with my customers, but some episodes, especially on your first proper day back at work, just kick you over the edge.

The Readjustment is a horrible time for me. I feel pretty depressed writing this, knowing in a few hours time I will be whisking my way back to the Southern house. That I won’t see my family or relatives for some time again.

Part of me is filled with this woe because, on the whole, Christmas was good. It is depressing that it is all over so soon. That life is now resuming with 50 weeks of incessant drudgery before I can genuinely switch off with no feeling of guilt.

Then the other part of me is telling me this is getting more and more concerning by the year. That we are all now one year older. One year less secure in this world. One year closer to seeing family, friends and relatives no longer with us. One year less biologically able. This was only brought home to me when visiting the home of my grandmother yesterday… a house I’ve not stepped into since my grandfather died.

Time to stop. Before I get so depressed I give up.

And before the phone no doubt rings.