Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going on Holiday by Mistake

I've lost my knack for holidays. I don't know what's wrong with me. I did another one this Easter weekend - ah - what was I thinking. Well, here was what I was thinking. I thought - it'd be good to get away, get some air. I thought - sun. I thought - not too far from Paris. I thought - maybe we'll buy a country house not far from Paris one day and maybe it will be in the Perche because that's just an hour and a half's drive. Perfect. I thought - we'll want to stay somewhere that we can have breakfasts and stuff, that will mean we can rest a bit - somewhere we can have a dinner at a table if we want while Kiki sleeps - somewhere Mr Rabbit and LL and I can lie around a play cards and drink. We can lie on a step in the sun in the day while Kiki runs around on grass with animals and we will read entire New Yorkers and whole books and then discuss them in cardigans and maybe do yoga and sleep in afternoons in gorgeous big soft beds.

Well it wasn't that. The Perche was picturesque, but I'd rather have looked at a picture of it. It was sort of Withnailian - Uncle Monty's dark stone cottage, so attractive, so grim. Quaint villages full of breakable stuff and boring boringness. In summer it would probably be great. But now it is muddy and quiet and nobody likes you. There are deer - yes - and three silent donkeys. A fireplace, yes, and two lovely warm franco-english hosts that you unfortunately have to talk to - because you're in their home. Der. If I hadn't so badly wanted to be lazy we could have made our own breakfasts and talked to nobody but ourselves. There was another family there - how were we to know? A family reunion. Four generations. The first night we had dinner - they were interesting - I wanted to stick the fork in my nose. I'm normally able to be congenial but I was the kid dragged along to the grown ups party - boring boring boring boring boring. My tolerance levels are currently low and in the only moment I was able to open my wine-stained mouth and contribute to the endless rotes of conversation I said PENIS very loud instead of Peanut Butter Cups. They had been talking about Peanut Butter Cups and couldn't remember what they were called. I had said it twice already but you know those times when you're sort of invisible? I wasn't really there that night at the dinner table in the Perche drunk with a fork hovering dangerously around my nostrils until I said Penis. I often fantasize about doing such a thing, pull my pants down, say Penis very loud in front of a table of ten engaged in polite French political conversation. And there I was, suddenly I wasn't invisible any more. They're rich, I said - and impossible to stop guzzling once you start. I have a pack in my fridge from the English shop near République. I bought them when I was meant to be buying Dorset cereal. They make you feel sick if you eat more than five at a time. They're great. The party rapidly wound up soon after, I don't think it recovered after Penis. Then we we went to our hard beds and listened to Kiki wake every twenty minutes in her sub-zero port-a-cot on the beautiful centuries-old stone floors.

That's it - I'm on vacation from vacationing - never again! Memories of last year's Nightmare in Provence - how can one be surrounded by such beauty and yet have such a rotten time? You feel like such a spoilt, spoilt brat, but your definition of fun has become so precise as you have gotten older, you just can't roll with it - you're taking artwork off walls and hiding it behind couches, turning off the ear-raping iPod dock near the pool - it's killing your soul. You are terrible, a spoilt rich brat, and you are in pain, and sleep deprived like never before because your daughter senses it in you and can't have fun or sleep either. Ah!

Privacy. You've changed. You've become way less social. Less robust. You're getting old. 

But you will do it again - surely. This summer. Somewhere where you'll be alone, where you're in control, and not in Uncle Monty's house - somewhere warm.  

But for now - pass the lighter fluid...   

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