Perfunctory holidays?

A strange expression, I know, although I’m not the first one to use it. But then the affair itself strikes me as rather strange. Because unforeseen, despite what in retrospect looks like a harbinger.

When all is said and done, I did enjoy the three months I spent in rehab back in ’08, and always looked forward to the next time I’d revisit there. They recommend that former patients return at least once a year for another week. This is seen as beneficial for current patients, who see one can keep abstaining (never mind how many relapse cases they know of); for the therapists, who see their work bear the gree (ditto); most importantly for the expat, whose determination is supposed to be reinforced by reliving an ordinary week exposed again to the place’s rules and atmosphere.

The strange thing is that I’m not looking forward to my fifth such spell, which begins tomorrow. I should be somewhat restless; instead I’m somewhat zestless. I’m not curious which of my former acquaintances I might meet there. Nor whether my beloved park will be at its best autumn colours. And so forth. If the truth be told, I’d rather stayed at home.

I’m not sure about the reason for this. It can hardly be its becoming too much of a routine to be exciting. I remember I was looking forward to it until recently. It most certainly isn’t the fact that, not having enough holidays left this time, I have to take the sick-leave option, which under the current law means three days with no pay at all and two with a much reduced one. Each of the previous times would have been worth it, were it necessary.

But I do have a strong suspicion what it may be. An after-effect of the Scotland tour. Each of the previous four spells was expected beforehand to be one of the most oustanding events of its year. This one is, in advance, overshadowed by the August fortnight. Towards the end of Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck describes how on the last leg of his journey to rediscover the States he was hardly seeing anything, just trying to accomplish the task, get home and be done with it. At one moment he uses the words ‘I had passed my limit of taking in’.

Perhaps, as regards holidays abroad, I had passed my limit for taking in for this year.



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