Keris Stainton‘s weekly column about married life…
Ah, holidays. You spend all year wishing you could spend more time together and then go abroad and within a couple of days (or sometimes hours) you want to kill each other.
Me and David have had some of our biggest and most relationship-threatening rows on holiday. I don’t think it’s just proximity that gets our hackles up, I think it’s because it’s on holiday that our differences really appear.
Our first proper holiday together was, ridiculously, our honeymoon (what a pair of idiots we were). First of all David, embarrassed to tell me he’d never flown before … didn’t tell me he’d never flown before and that he was nervous. Since I’d been abroad with my family pretty much every year since 1980, I had no clue that it was his first time on a plane. So when during the flight he asked, “What’s that noise?” I wasn’t to know my answer – “I don’t know, probably a bit of wing falling off.” – would traumatise him quite so much.
Travel also highlight the differences in our attitude to problems. If something goes wrong, say, at the airport on the way out, my response is, “Oh well, soon we’ll be on our holidays and we’ll forget all about the crappy journey.” David’s attitude is, “Oh great. So it begins. The hotel’ll probably be rubbish as well.” While I think (I could ask him, but I’m not going to bother) he finds my take comforting, his sends me into a psychotic frenzy that often finds me stomping off to the loos muttering about going on my next bloody holiday on my bloody own.
And then, of course, we reach our destination. Once we’ve started speaking to each other again, we have to negotiate the schedule of activities. If the words “schedule of activities” make you want to wring my neck you’re in David’s camp. He’d rather just hang, chill, relax … sleep.
Yes, sleep is David’s number one holiday “activity”. In Paris, David slept on a Baton Mouche and in the Bois de Boulogne. He has snoozed in New York’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. On a park bench in Venice and the beach in Barcelona. My sister summed it up: in some of the world’s most exciting cities, while I’m thinking about sights and experiences, David’s thinking “Mmmm. That looks comfy!”
Of course, things will be different now that we have a child. We have been on one family holiday abroad, but since Harry slept almost the entire time we were there (it was very hot), we didn’t have to agree on what to do: David slept too and I sat on the balcony reading novel after novel. It was blissful.
We’re going abroad again next month and this time Harry’s older and will no doubt require some entertainment. The thing is, me and David are older (and theoretically wiser) too. I think we might be able to negotiate alternate days of “relaxing” and “exploring”. Either that or we’ll just buy a crate of Spanish wine take each day as it comes.