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Week off

I’ve just written the following for the HDM. But I like it. So I’ve posted it here. Still no cheque from you-know-who. I really am a struggling writer….

The ultimate in rest and relaxation: a week off work. Only, it never quite works out like that, does it?Certainly not the week that was. Half term. Wherever you go, there’s no chance of getting from A to B because of all the feral kids, moving in packs, riding through the streets on their skateboards, ramming their decks into your legs as they practice their heel flips and ollies before tripping over their oversized, chain-attached filthy jeans.

The problem with a week off is that other people dare to take a week off at exactly the same time. Just what are they thinking? Don’t they know that this is your week?

Patently not. You head to the cinema to find an inordinate amount of people there, battling for tickets for the same screening of School of Rock that you wanted. Searching for a hasty alternative, you head to the bowling alley only to find that every single lane is in use. No problem. You’ll go skating. But, because you apparently have the most common foot size, all of the hockey skates bearing blades with the sharp edges necessary for remaining upright are already in use and, if you are to stay, you must don that odd pair of girly figure skates. Dining in a fast food outlet? No way – no seats. Never mind. A trip to a major tourist attraction will keep you occupied for some time. Judging from the look of the queue, spilling out into the car park, that will take out several days of your precious time off. Do that many people really need to discover what ‘orrible life lurks in the sea?Shopping is out. At half-term, parents drag their children around stores day after day in an effort to tire them out. And those pesky kids better not ask for anything, because the last thing anyone needs is a hissy-fit, spittle flying argument that will block access to the store’s automatic doors while little Johnny or Jemima are castigated by their downtrodden, overworked, ‘I don’t know why you have to have so many school holidays’ mum after requesting one too many packets of Jaffa Cakes.

Drive to another city to see what it has to offer? Don’t even go there – because you won’t get there for the traffic chaos, gridlock and the fact that you can’t make any sense of the ‘easy-to-follow’ directions you printed off the Internet.You’ve got no money, because pay day was both weeks ago and weeks ahead. You don’t really want to go anywhere ‘touristy’ in case people think you’re a tourist. You’re pacing the house trying to think of things to do. You’re not sleeping because there’s no work to leave you feeling like a zombie. And you’re that stressed out about going back to work and having to come up with interesting answers to the ‘what did you get up to on your week off?’ line of questioning that you spend so much time looking for exciting things to do that you don’t get round to doing any of them. Rest and relaxation? This week? No chance.

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