The simple truth is, from time to time I need to be alone. Especially when I’m stressed out.
I was feeling stretched to the end of my limit the whole of last week. Partly it had to do with my next Archaeology module arriving when my existing book was not quite writing itself. I had hoped to finish the book before the module started. Partly it had to do with the new arrival to the family. Adjustments must be made, even for a cat. Mainly it had to do with Amit being much too busy with work and me having to pick up his share of household duties in addition to my own. He worked all through the previous weekend, which means I did not get a moment of time to put my feet up and relish a cup of coffee.
So I dragged myself through the next week, snapping at the kids, yelling at Amit (on What’s App, when all else failed), and trying to keep at even keel at work. And I dragged myself through Saturday, ferrying the kids around and working my way through the household task list for the weekend at a frenetic pace. And then Sunday came, and I dropped everything and fled.
Sometimes, if I’m very lucky, my hard won time with myself will take the shape of a full-fledged holiday. But most often, it will just be a short excursion to a nearby mall, which is a lot quicker but not necessarily that much cheaper. (Nah… just kidding. I don’t spend that much on shopping.)
So this Sunday, after a very tiring start (of which, more later) I took myself off to the mall all on my own. Unfortunately, in addition to not having acquired the skill of spending a ton of money on shopping, I also haven’t quite mastered the skill of spending a ton of time on shopping. In fact, I was tired by the time I got there, a little after 12 noon. I went into Westside, tried on about 15 garments, settled on four, selected a pair of formal black shoes, and was done in about an hour. Uh-oh. What now?
Everyone knows there’s no point sticking around in the shops once you’ve finished shopping. All that will happen is that you’ll find loads of things that you’d love to buy if you hadn’t run through 3.5k already. Still, I had come out determined to spend at least 6 hours away from home and it was barely 1.30 and I wasn’t even hungry yet, so what to do? I resorted to window shopping and was fortunate enough to find only a couple of things I’d have liked to buy if I hadn’t already spent so much; and I also happened to find a shop selling only headphones, which was also fortunate, because I happened to need a pair and it didn’t cost a bomb. And then I went to the food court, where all I can really eat is ice cream, but I’m not complaining. So I spent my Sunday lunch all alone with a big glass of ice cream, eyeing all the other families and having a running commentary in my head about all of them, and it was sheer bliss.
But it still wasn’t 6 hours.
So next I went to a coffee shop and had a coffee and took out my archaeology text book and studied for a good two hours.
And then, it still wasn’t 6 hours, but I’d finally run out of things to do, so I went home.
Now, you’d think that things couldn’t get any better after that, but they did. Because a friend had dropped in and one thing led to another and the next thing you know, three of us were working our way through 2 litres of coke and a big bottle of dark rum in a very serious fashion. The kids got no dinner but we all gorged on chips and I’m not sure who put the kids to bed but I’m proud to say that I managed to get to bed all on my own steam and I think I fed the cat and I think I even managed to get a handle on the ironing before that. (And I’m aware that a public confession of such debauchery could get me into serious trouble in some countries, but hopefully not in this one.)
Well, nothing beats retail therapy followed by booze. I slept like the dead and woke up at 5.30 this morning, feeling relaxed and refreshed and maybe even a bit rejuvenated. I’m still feeling good about it now. That’s really the kind of Sunday that I need once in three months or so.