OK. I’ve given up on those rules. Too many people says it’s hard to read. It’s supposed to be, but I’ll give in – at least in this one…
I hate the holiday season. It’s the travelling and the family part. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family, but they just don’t understand me, even my sister, J. None of them can believe that I live in the UK permanently. For them, it’s just this 16-year holiday, while I sow my wild oats. Every time I come home for a visit (that’s where I am now), they ask when I’m coming back. My parents are getting up there and my siblings resent that I’m not around to help out. They (my parents) are still upright and compos mentis, perhaps even more than I am. They get around and about, and although both have had health scares in the past few years, neither is likely to live to an age where they become feeble and need care. That’s just the way it is in our family. No one has made it to 80 in several generations. My father is the oldest of his generation, and the only one still living. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but he’s a realist. He’s been preparing to die for over a decade, and he’s constantly making certain that all their affairs are in order. They’ve even bought the plot. I don’t do graves – I hate cemetaries. I’d rather take a fast track to dust, myself, cremation.
The worst thing about the big family gathering is that all these feelings come back, like I’ve never left, and soon I’ll be wishing I never came back. J is starting to understand me better, but none of them really understand what I do for a living, and why I’m living in a foreign country. They also don’t understand why I’m not married, or why I split with my ex. Technically, if I shack up with someone else, it’s adultery. Frankly, I thought shacking up with my husband akin to adultery. It was over almost immediately after it began – he was never the love of my life, unfortunately, and I think he sensed that. He was fighting a losing battle and gravitated towards someone who didn’t have my hangups. He was right, the bastard, but that was a long time ago. It will come up again – probably on Christmas Eve. That seems to be the usual pattern. At least, I didn’t have to bring work with me this year. They love using that for their attacks.
Time for some retail therapy.
(Just a reminder: this is a reprint from 2008, but very little has changed)