We were only away for ten days but the washing pile to rival Mount Everest tells a very different story. I know it makes more work for me but I respond well to instructions so if it says ‘wash separately’, I’m abiding by the label’s rules.
Swimwear is hand-washed, kids’ toy bunnies/penguins are boil-washed and everyone has a thorough shower and hair wash to rid us of ‘plane smell’.
I managed three films plus half a ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm‘ outbound. Husband watched seven hours of the ‘where our plane is’ channel, mixed with an hour of ‘chatting’ (having therapy) to a pilot who happened to be a passenger. (To be fair on husband, even the crew were told to take their seats because the turbulence was so bad.)
Flying and turbulence doesn’t phase me – maybe that’s why I don’t have a problem with rollercoasters, but I have lots of friends who fear plane journeys. Many of their trips have been booked and then cancelled last-minute because they can’t face the reality of having to board a plane.
I admit I do have one ritual before boarding the plane – I like to pat it. (The plane. what else did you think I meant?) After boarding at the furthest gate* from the terminal possible, I walk the jetway and casually touch the plane’s exterior as I step aboard. I don’t know why, but I like knowing the ‘bit’ I touched will make contact with the clouds. (I know rayyyt?)
*Briefly back to the gate bit. I just need some reassurance that no-one’s gate is ever within a 2 minute walk from wherever they’re been sitting. And there are always stairs. Or escalators that don’t work.
This year, my family holidayed in America and aside from the ‘Ice Breakers’, clothing and essential US-drugstore purchases, we came back with something else this year. New numbers in our phones.
We made friends.
Unheard of. Absurd. Unthinkable.
Unless the outbound journey is purposefully taken with another family, we tend to be fairly unsociable on holiday. But this year was different.
Maybe it was because the first part of our trip was to Disney. That part required regimented schedules, timings and finite planning. Not the kind of thing easily done with others. It was all about us – the team. We were in the parks most days by 7am and in bed with delirium by 9pm.
After four days of (exhausting) fun we were ready to relax in Miami. Maybe it was jet lag? Maybe our guards were down from all the rides and 3D craziness? Before you could say ‘have a nice day’ we were breakfasting, lunching and even ‘dinnering’ with this other family.
It was all moving so fast, so of course there were moments of doubt. Like waiting in reception to go for dinner one night and no sign on of them at the agreed departure time. Perhaps they were bored of us? Maybe their Uber had left for the restaurant already? Were they ‘late types’? We were confused and bewildered.
“No. You call.”
Our friends had an early riser in their ranks in the form of a five-year-old, so we were on slightly different morning schedules. We usually passed them just as they were leaving breakfast, but were delighted to hear “got you four sunbeds”. Well, if Carlsberg made holiday friends, I tell you…
The space allowed us to politely nod and chat to other guests getting their morning fill of the great American breakfast. (Mostly Jews getting their fill of bacon. Talking of which…)
My friend’s in-laws were in the same hotel as us and I bumped into the dad by the hot food one sunny morning. I politely chatted whilst he munched crispy sticks of applewood bacon ‘on-the-go’.
“Wow,” I thought, “he really must love bacon that he can’t even wait until he sits down to eat it.”
I headed out to the terrace and saw the wife, who ushered me over with a big smile. I said how I’d just been chatting to her husband over his plate of treif. The smile disappeared. She was livid and had no idea he was ‘on the bacon’. Whoops…
Me and my new mates even took our new friendship outside of the hotel, heading off on adventures like lifelong buddies.
So delightfully in tune we were, that a nod and a wink was all that was required to understand that easily pilfered items like bagels, cookies and mini breakfast cereal packets were to be lifted for ‘daytime sustenance’.
Oh the fun we had. We created ‘in’ jokes and hashtags and social media’d the crap out of the holiday.
But after all’s said and done and the cases have been put back in the loft, is it ever really the same once you’re back on home ground?
Of course not.
For a start they’re called ‘Frosties’ and we don’t eat bacon at home.
Happy New Year. x x x