Several months this guy we know takes his annual leave, something his entire system has been calling demanding for months. He takes it, or loses it; no financial compensation. He was only a few days into his leave when frustration set in. What happened was previously when he took his leave he made sure he had the financial means muscle to make the rounds of the city’s bars and nightclubs. Married and a father of two teenagers, he still thinks night life was the best form of entertainment. And I can tell you the number of bumps in his marriage were so numerous only some miracle must have sustained it for so long.
This time around (before the onset of the pandemic) things were completely different. The cost of living has weighed down on the family so heavily, even the open spaces in the refrigerator were widening by the day. Forget the night life; the family is already coming to the table with smiles and leaving with smiles. But the real problem is, so I think, our concept. Vacations are supposed to be a time for rejuvenation of both the body and the spirit. Somehow, somewhere we seem to have missed that point. For many of us vacation mean a night a week outing would be accelerated to five nights a week on the town. Well in case you’ve missed on vital info, there were days when beer was more affordable. Ha! And the funny part if s you’ve to get stoned every night! Otherwise the carefully thought up ‘mistakes’ of the flesh wouldn’t happen.
“Have you told your wife about that thing?”
“About what thing?
“You told us the other day you were so drunk you went to bed with a strange woman.”
“How can I tell her that? If I do so, she would be out the door first thing in the morning and never look back. (So. what were you thinking when you messed with the zippers of your pants in that hotel bedroom! And about the ‘strange woman’ thing; how in the word can any beauty be ‘a stranger’ for the fourth time!)
So, what happens is many of us have no idea of what real refreshing, spirit cleansing vacation means and end up frustrated! A week into your leave all the things you thought you left in the office make a comeback. The crowds at the watering holes aren’t what you supposed them to be. Everything seems to be rehearsed. The smiles are plastic, the words hollow, and the laughter FAKE! Somehow there are more side-glances than direct eye contact. Everybody seems to be suspicious of everybody else! “That’s a one thing I was running from when I applied for leave!”
They tell you that these days in quite a number of offices there is this cat-and-mouse atmosphere. Everyone trying to be the mouse, nothing is for real! The last places you thought for the replay of that drama are the watering holes where people go to escape a thousand and one things in the real world. And what happens is that even your longtime drinking buddy throws you those eerie side glances! “What in the world is going on?” I’ll be nice enough to tell you what’s going on.
There is a lot of talk these days, especially in matters of politics and what people think are politics! Well, some eleventh hour ‘thinker’ might say to you;
“Hey everything is about politics!”
“Is that so! Do you see politics in this glass of gin?”
He does; believe me those fellows would see politics in ANYTHING!
“They don’t brew gin like they used to.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean these days the taste is not like it was.”
“Just a minute; are you trying to say something?”
Oh my! Not another one of them.
“Yes I’m. I don’t like the taste of this gin. Is there anything wrong with that?”
“Oh; so that’s it. Do you think I don’t know what you’re trying to say?”
Then things slide so low that the fellow could take the talk to what he calls is identity politics. When you’re talking about the glass of gin his linguistic genius tells him that you’re talking about one group or another. The rest is history.
So, if you are thinking of going on leave, the gin can wait. You don’t have to go in with brightest smiles and leave with the darkest frowns. Yes, the gin can wait.
The Ethiopian Herald September 18, 2020