The City, here I come!

by Suw on May 2, 2003

I would like to know if anyone’s got a formula for calculating the Doppler shift on fast receding deadlines. I’m pretty sure that there must be one, as you can hear that kinda funny pitch-shifting whining sound they make as they go past.
Equally, there must be a formula for the apparent speed with which holidays fail to approach.
Yesterday, I booked a return ticket to San Francisco (a place that I frequently have difficulty spelling) for July. Now, the momentousness of this event is something which I don’t think many people reading this will be able to appreciate. This isn’t just a holiday. This isn’t just an opportunity to go to new places, meet up with new people and generally have a spiffing good time. This isn’t just a chance to get away from the dreariness of Reading, or for two weeks to put aside my stresses and worries about my beautiful business.
This is much, much more important than that.
This is my first holiday, my first actual leaving the country holiday involving fun and relaxing and sunshine and generally having a good time, for some 13 years. Yup. Thirteen. Count ‘em. Last time I went a-gallivanting was in 1990 when I spent a deliriously fabulous nine months in Australia, delighting in the discovery that one could earn money and then actually spend it!!
When I was up at the Groucho Club in March for the St David’s Day SWS party, I was accused by a complete stranger of being a workaholic, a charge I hotly (but somewhat ineffectively) denied. However, in having to defend myself against these charges I was forced to examine exactly why I haven’t been on holiday for 13 years. I mean, it’s not like my nose has been chained to its inner grindstone for all that time.
Strictly speaking, I actually have had holidays, i.e. I’ve had time off work. (When I’ve had that kind of work, that is. Being self-unemployed as I have been for the last six years does not really lend itself to holidays, just periods of inactivity and brokeness followed by flurries of work and the paying off of the credit cards you lived off when you were broke. My life has been one constant cashflow crisis – I haven’t had any, and it hasn’t.) I just seem to have spent that time off either faffing about my house/flat/small cardboard box, or going back to Dorset and putting in kitchens. Or bathrooms. Or windows.
I suppose I could easily have just booked myself a holiday, but I’ve always found other things to spend my money on. New computers. New guitars. New amps. More new guitars. Another new amp…
I see pattern emerging there.
Thing is, it’s not like I’m exactly flush with cash right now. In fact, I’m contemplating flogging some of the spare guitars and amps that I have littered around the place as they do nothing bit sit about and gather dust. Two of the basses I can’t play because they’re too heavy – the Precision and the Aria. The Hohner acoustic I can’t play because it’s right-handed and I play left-handed these days. The Bass State B65 I no longer use as I don’t play in a band any more and, frankly, I can’t see myself playing in a band again any time soon. So I may as well flog them and, given the state of my bank account, the sooner the better.
Anyway, so yes, holidays. And the speed with which they fail to approach. I remember that only a week ago, my holiday was 82 days away. Now it’s… :consults calendar: 75 days away. Yet it doesn’t appear to be appreciably closer. I mean, a whole week went past and nothing happened.
It’s like standing on the platform at Reading station waiting for the next fast to London, and you can see the headlights in the distance, but you stand and stare and stand and stare and they don’t get any bigger and so you stand and stare for a bit longer.
Then they tell you that there’s a signal failure outside the station and that you’ll have to wait at least another half an hour, and you realise that the reason that the train never got any bigger was because it was stopped.
I hope I don’t have that problem with my holiday. With any luck, it will be just like those spanky new Virgin trains. You can hear the track singing with anticipation, making that whispery metallic whipping sound as the train gets closer and you look up and suddenly what was only moments ago a little red speck in the distance is pulling in at the platform in front of you, ready to whisk you off to somewhere new and exciting.
Or Crewe.
Hopefully, though, my holiday will have a bit more legroom.

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