Monday 7th January 2013
Operation Brain Switch-off seems to be going pretty well. I have been doing nothing and having no ideas for anything, hoping to become properly relaxed. Good news for me, less good news for the blog. But frankly it's ludicrous that I am writing this on holiday at all. It's like a disease.
I enjoy people-watching and eaves-dropping as usual, of course. Maybe it's just because most of the people here are in swimming costumes and thus mainly nude most of the time, but I am mostly thinking that human beings are quite grotesque, (or maybe just the ones who pay over a certain amount for their holiday are). I include myself in this, of course. But there do seem to be more Dickensian caricatures on this holiday than I remember on others, most notably the "I have a fish" woman who is at least not grotesquely unattractive.
Around the pool today two middle-aged British couples (who I realised with a start are probably all younger than me), all with mean, screwed-up faces, were discussing their teenage kids, who they had coincidentally both left behind. One man moaned at the expense that came attached to their sexcrement (though nearly everything he said was about the cost of something), his wife commented how her parents had disapproved of them leaving their kids behind - "They're practically adults now. We deserve some time on our own anyway. Our parents won't have it. Maybe it's a generational thing. Maybe they're just jealous of us." The other woman then said with what I hope was mock-seriousness but came across very much as seriousness, "I often think it would have been better all round if I had been barren." The other mother agreed, again with less humour than I would have hoped. The feeling of wasted lives hung in the air - we've done our bit for them and now we're going to get ours.
There was slightly more harmony with a charming French family, a younger couple with an impressively well-behaved five year old girl and her even more remarkably placid baby sister. Maybe it's easier when your children are young and trusting and loving and the biggest additional daily expense is a balloon. The baby was getting lots of attention from the restaurant staff and it struck me that you can spend your whole life dreaming of being popular, but you'll never be
as universally well-liked as you were when you were a baby. When you had little-to-no personality and couldn't do anything. For all your trying to get people to like you just being tiny and cute and doing nothing but holding on to your own feet with your hands you'll make more friends than any skill you might acquire later. Not everyone loves a little baby of course, but those people probably don't like anyone much. If you're a nice, well-behaved baby most people will smile at you, pull faces at you, play with you and like you. And you're not even trying. Maybe it's they trying that ruins everything.
They made me feel better about humanity, but then perhaps when those two little angels are 17 they will give their parents equal Hell and the nice French couple will be dried up, shrew-faced, self-obsessives dreaming that their children had never been born.
Nicer compensation than the fishing trip, for the mild inconvenience of not having the right room on day one, came tonight as we were treated to a special alfresco meal with a bottle of wine and amazing garlic prawns. It's exactly nine months since we got married and almost five years since we got together and this was a sweet and romantic (and more importantly free - oh no I am turning into that guy) celebration. We had a couple of cocktails and then staggered back to our room. If ever we were going to fall off the jetty it was going to be today. We'd been lucky as fifteen minutes after we'd got in a storm hit the island. Rain poured down and lightning flashed overhead. God was celebrating our love too. Or showing his fury at our unHoly union.
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