There are several issues with returning from a holiday. Most of them tend to revolve around the whole 'not being on holiday any more' concept, I tend to find. But there are other irritations too. For starters, there's the "How was your holiday?" "It was lovely." "Where did you go?" "We went to x." "How was the weather?" conversation that you have with a gazillion people in the first week. I just got cards printed in the end.
But as everyone's doing lists, I thought I'd do one too. It's easy, for one thing. Look, I'm in a bad place. Just read the bloody list, will you?
1: Shaving. I know, it shouldn't really be an issue. In fact, I suspect a good 50% of those reading this don't have as much insight into this as I do. Well, perhaps you do, but anyway. Let's not go there. While on holiday I don't shave. By Sunday night I was the unknown Fleet Fox. Or, at least, an extra from Das Boot. I had gone past the spiky stage and was luxuriant, if a little greyer than I would like. But on Monday morning it had to come off, ruining one of Gillette's finest in the process.
2: The hours. On Monday morning our alarm clock twisted the concept of time around and, on ringing, displayed a time to us that was just beyond comprehension. Christ on a bike - did we ever get up at that time before? Because I certainly don't remember it. This is just inhumane.
3: The Inbox From Hell. This won't mean anything to you if you work in a foundry. But if, like me, you're a desk-piloting shirt-wearing wrangler of spreadsheets, then you'll know what I mean. When your colleagues take a glance over a shoulder and say: "Whoa! We'll just leave you alone for an hour or two," while backing away with a concerned look, you know you've got TIFH.
4: Commuting. Compare and contrast. Last week we got held up by a tractor delivering bales of hay from the field at one end of the narrow winding lane to the field at the other end of the winding narrow lane. We chuckled to ourselves. "Why worry? Go with the flow," we said. This week we have been questioning the parentage of Latvian truck drivers. I once called a nun a rude word while I was driving. I think I'd returned from holiday the day before.
5: Detox. When you're on holiday you think nothing about having a quick pint at 3pm if the pub's open. Even on a weekday. Behaviour of this sort is frowned upon in Non-Holiday Land. As a result you are getting that strange, unwelcoming feeling that is prolonged sobriety. Perhaps my liver will put me back on its Christmas card list after all?
6: Finances. When the bank statement hits the doormat it will be a poignant souvenir of your time away. The places you visited, the things you did, the wonderful dishes you enjoyed. (In our case it's mainly the latter). then you look at the scary number at the bottom. I predict a lot of beans on toast in your future, sunshine.
7: Calendars. You look at the calendar and see nothing but drudgery and the daily grind stretching out before you like a desert, with the odd weekend oasis here and there. Linked to (6), you realise that this is as good as it gets forever.
8: Laundry. The Fresh Kills Landfill was a 2,200 acre landfill on Staten Island which processed refuse from the city of New York. At the height of its use, it was 25 metres higher than the Statue of Liberty and visible from space. Compared to our socks pile, it's a mere speck.
9: "This time last week". Never, never do this. You find yourself, in an idle moment, thinking, "This time last week, we were going for that great walk/at that marvellous restaurant/chatting with that colourful fisherman/running with the bulls/whatever." You will send yourself potty. People around you will be giving you that look and casting around for bladed weapons.
10: Other people who are going on holiday. Bastards.