Holidays are all about unpredictability and unfamiliarity – two things that I don’t do well with because I’m autistic, innit. I’ve never got what all the fuss is about! There’s also the sensory issue of sand in EVERY crevice which turns bum (and flap) wiping into a hazardous experience, no?
Then there’s the flock of seagulls. Not the 80s pop group with questionable hair-dos. I mean beaky bastards that crap on your hair and steal your chips!
Is it me, or are seagulls a lot more feisty than they used to be? Maybe they’ve watched too many Steven Seagull movies? Geddit?
Anyhoo, I remember childhood holidays – at least, I remember a few. I don’t think we went every year. That was probably because we couldn’t afford to or maybe I’ve blocked a few out? Of those that are etched into my memory, I remember the entire family cramming into musty-smelling caravans with daddy-long-legs the size of Brazil and being made to strip off on the beach as apparently it wasn’t socially acceptable to wear your coat? As any misfit will tell you – coats are not just an outer layer of clothing – they are armour and it matters not that it’s 30 degrees in the shade and every other kid is running around in swimsuits and shorts!
Then there was the stress of having to choose which Enid Blyton’s to pack into my little suitcase, because as Dad used to say, ‘It’s a car, not the bloody tardis!’
My misery was reflected in the photographs that flopped through the letterbox about a month later. Photographs of me scowling and me giving the thumbs down and me being a generally miserable tw@t. In contrast, there was Dad – smiling, laughing and working his arse off trying to cheer me up.
I’m sorry, Dad. You worked hard all year. You deserved a nice holiday. I wish I had made more of an effort. 😦
To be fair, my eldest brother ruined at least one holiday because he was a teenager and teenagers are by default – arseholes.
Once I became a parent myself, I understood the effort (and money) my parents had put into our holidays. My stress levels increased because being a parent means that you are responsible for others as well as yourself. Plus, it’s your job to make happy memories for your children. So I forced myself to ponce about on beaches with beach balls and stuff. Unfortuately, my performance anxiety came on holiday with me, so having a ‘fun’ game of cricket on the beach scored high on my shit-o-meter, especially when I fell over due to poor coordination!
If you’re my kind of autistic, you’re mostly you’re counting the hours until it’s time to go home.
I don’t enjoy holidays. I survive them.
One thing I do when I’m on holiday is to observe other people because they make holidaying look easy!
But there’s usually a drama or two and one year it involved a lifeguard diving into the swimming pool to rescue what turned out to be one of my kids!
There was me and the MIL partaking in a little poolside afternoon tea (might have been lager) while (then) husband was in the pool with the kids and somehow he managed to lose one. Of course, I was thankful that my little ‘Pwince’ had been rescued (and didn’t seem at all fazed by the experience) but it buggered the rest of the holiday up because, you know, people stare, point and say. ‘That’s them!‘.
Thankfully, it’s not always my family providing the drama..
One summer, when my eldest boys were younger, we went to one of those beaches you can park on. You just open the car-boot and unload your shit onto the sand. Fabulous, no? So, there I was, semi-relaxing in my chair. I had a classy plastic tumbler of warm cider and a racy Mills and Boon. (Blaze series). One of the kids was literally burying the other one in the sand. Textbook stuff. The alcohol had taken the edge off my anxiety. The weather was warm, but not hot. It was fairly pleasant.
My shit-o-meter was at a tolerable 3.
Then, a 4 x 4 rocks up, bringing with it a family of five and a dog. They also appeared to have brought their entire house with them – chairs, tables, parasols, wind-breakers, picnic, bats and balls – the works!
The woman got out of the car, stripped to her skimpy bikini and flopped onto a beach towel with a magazine. They had two younger kids (who were seconds away from killing each other) a psychotic dog and a Goth teenager who point-blank refused to get out of the car because the sun was out and they wanted to avoid exploding into a million bats. Obviously!
4 X 4 Man started out by carefully positioning stuff and each time he asked for some help with getting stuff out of the car, his family ignored him. Within fifteen minutes he was ramming things into the sand and beating the living crap out of the wind-breaker pegs with his beast of a mallet. (NOT a euphemism)
It was like watching David Banner turn into the Hulk.
As I recall, the straw that broke the camels back was when one of his kids kicked a ball and it hit him in the face.
4 X 4 man’s face went turned a funny colour.
Then, he completely and utterly lost it!
The kids went silent.
Goth Teen rolled the window up.
4 x 4 Man’s Mrs looked up from Catherine Zeta’s arse.
The dog started to bury itself.
4 X 4 Man jumped up Basil Fawlty style and started throwing everything into the back of the car – his language as colourful as his face. Five minutes (and numerous ‘SHITS later) he and his family were wheel-spinning across the sand towards the exit.
Wish You Were Here. Not.
You see, holidays are not all smiling faces and Beach Boys on the iPod.
My dream holiday would be me locked in a library for a week with a vending machine, a kettle and a huge box of teabags!
My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them.
My dream holiday would be a) a ticket to Amsterdam b) immunity from prosecution and c) a baseball bat.”~ Terry Pratchett