This evening was spent pondering.
Not about the meaning of life. Or what I can do on a personal level to combat climate change. Not even a rumination on how to address the homelessness crisis in Dublin. Oh no. I am far more shallow than all that.
I was in fact, thinking about how I would answer the hairdresser the next time I am getting my tresses tended to, when he asks ‘Are you going anywhere nice for your holidays this year?’
Now if the truth be told I don’t think I have ever had a barber ask me that question. But it’s the question that, I assume, is falling constantly from the lips of those in the hair-care industry – regardless of how true it is.
This summer I have booked a fortnight starting on a Thursday in July. The reason for this untypical start date is all down to Black Francis and his group Pixies, who are playing in Dublin on that evening. I was a teenage fan of their angsty rock, so now quarter of a century later I will see them, in the flesh. Two days later a friend is having a birthday celebration where her new age will have a zero as the last digit. We’ll all go to Galway for the weekend.
That leaves me ten days to myself.
And the options are endless but trying to decide the most appealing option, is the challenge.
The fall-back (and most likely) option is of course Amsterdam. I can meet up with old friends and check out the old haunts. The problem with Amsterdam is the utter lack of glamour. Having lived there for decades I’m hardly going to be hanging around in a fug of marijuana smoke in the red light district like so many of my country-folk do on their first trip to the Dam. It’s also the simple matter of my friends who will be in town, not being on holidays, so I will marching to their beat. In a sense I sort of regard Amsterdam, how I regarded Ireland when I lived away – the safe choice where it was guaranteed that I would enjoy myself. But the element of adventure, or new experience was lacking.
Then there’s the Canadian question- go visit some friends in the Maritimes? However not having a driver’s license is limiting in a country so vast – perhaps I should plan that trip for next year when I shall be a fully licensed and insured motor car driver.
The Scottish highlands – or Inverness in particular – is under consideration – take the sleeper train from London and spend some days hiking in a very remote part of Scotland?
I have a secret yearning to go on a Spanish package holiday. Not a classy one – I am talking end of the pier stuff here – Magaluf or Benidorm. Torremolinos or Fuengirola. Somewhere that is exactly like being in Ireland, except the sun is shining.
I know some of my classier friends may look at this option in horror. However I have never been on a package sun tour in my life. Oh I’ve been to hot places – Australia and Egypt and Barcelona etc. – but never to one of those ‘Kiss me quick, squeeze me slowly type locations.’ The type of place that Gary from accounts and Debs from customer service bring their little snot-monsters, for their yearly getaway, and book the same hotel in the same resort, year after year.
The closest I have been to that style of trip was a week in Mykonos over a decade ago. But we stayed in a whitewashed, stone cottage in an ancient Greek village. The evenings were not spent in an Irish bar – rather in a piano bar for homosexuals where the entertainment was a female piano player with cropped hair and sandals, and an American singer called ‘Diane’ who described herself as ‘the last stop before homosexuality in the Village’. I think she meant Greenwich Village but I never got round to asking her. She was distinctly ropey but after a few cocktails we’d join in with the singing – show-tunes mainly.
It was an enjoyable holiday but not quite the culture free tack-fest that I have a yearning for.
Holidays disadvantage the single – that goes without saying- you end up paying more for less, and if you are not good with your own company it can get wearing.
I have little to be complaining about however. The stress of the idle. But a decision needs to be made.