Sunday 25 September 2016

Why do we put ourselves through the torture of holidays?

Published 29/07/2015 | 02:30

'The thought of three months of a rainy and cold 'summer' in Ireland turns us into lunatics who will sell body and soul to 'get away' for a week or two'
'The thought of three months of a rainy and cold 'summer' in Ireland turns us into lunatics who will sell body and soul to 'get away' for a week or two'

Ah holidays…you save and wait for 11 and half months and then finally they arrive. Excitement is at fever pitch. "We're going on a plane!" the kids shout excitedly running around like headless chickens.

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"Let's pack," they shriek and proceed to shove everything they own, clothes, toys, tennis rackets, large stuffed toys, DVDs…into the suitcase.

When it won't close, they will jump on top of it until it either breaks or one of their toys gets beheaded in a guillotine-like snap.

By the time you've negotiated with each child a pared down version of 'everything they own' coming away with them, you are usually left with a tiny corner for yourself.

The next morning, despite having been up since 5am with the kids running around whooping, you will be late getting to the airport.

Your heart will sink as you see the long, snake-like queue of harried travellers waiting to check in their enormous suitcases. Your kids will complain of being hungry, bored, tired, fed up and needing to go to the toilet. All of this before you've even checked in.

Then comes the security check where you all get undressed to the point of indecency and walk through the 'beep machine'.

Despite having told your children a zillion times that they cannot bring drinks in their backpacks, they will do just that and you will then stand for 10 minutes while a security guard rubs a stick with what looks like a bit of dirty cotton wool around inside your child's backpack.

Having negotiated security, you will then spend an exorbitant amount of money on overpriced food to keep them quiet and pray to every saint alive that the flight is not delayed.

When passing the pharmacy, you will realise that you need mosquito repellent spray, bee sting cream, red ant deterrent, a large box of plasters, anti-histamine tablets for heat rash, anti-inflammatory pills in case an insect bite should swell up, three hand sanitizers, antiseptic wound cleanser, a thermometer and tweezers for removing ticks and or splinters.

Your husband will mutter that he thought you were going to Spain, not "flaming outer Mongolia" but you will ignore him because you know that it's best to be prepared for all eventualities.

Having now spent most of your holiday budget in Boots, you will then go to board the plane where your kids will beg for more over-priced food.

However, by the time the trolley gets to you in row 97, the air hostess will shake her head and tell you that all she has left is beer and a couple of packets of peanuts. Your children will then complain of starvation for the next two hours.

When you finally arrive at your destination, you will be greeted by a blast of hot air. Lovely, you will think as the warm air hits your pale, sun-deprived skin.

"Oh my God," your kids will shout, "I can't breathe…it's too hot…I hate stinky Spain."

Then comes the fun of car hire. Your normally mild-mannered husband will shove you out of the plane and roar at you to "run the like the clappers" to get into the car hire queue before the other 800 passengers get there.

With his footprint in your back, you gallop through baggage reclaim, surrounded by equally demented car hire passengers. You will race each other to the desk. But no matter how fast you run, rows 1-96 are already in the queue.

Two hours will slowly drag by as you watch customer after customer arm waving, shouting, hissing and thumping the desk. More overpriced food is purchased to keep the kids from melt-downs.

When you finally get to the desk, the car hire employee will be frazzled, fed up and decidedly unhelpful.

They will give you a smaller car than the one you paid for, shout that you never asked for any 'boosty seats' and throw a key at you.

You will be too tired and strung out to argue, besides, you know that very soon, the three small people beside you are about to combust.

And so your holiday begins. Your decision to 'pop over to Spain' has already felt like a month-long ordeal.

Why do we do it to ourselves? Because the thought of three months of a rainy and cold 'summer' in Ireland turns us into lunatics who will sell body and soul to 'get away' for a week or two. But is it worth it?

A friend who brought her children on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China asked her eight-year-old what the best part of the month-long trip was. Her son paused and then said, "The Fanta we had after seeing that big wall thing."

Maybe we should save ourselves a whole lot of money, hassle and effort and just stay at home.

After all, when the sun does come out, Ireland is pretty spectacular.

Irish Independent

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