Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream...
Hey, you know what, John? I think I will. Mm. Ahh. OK. There I float. Huh, this is actually quite nice. Splishy splash splash. I'll just get onto that turning mind off thing, except...um...those trees, the ones that were gliding past, they now seem to be more *flashing* past... And it's quite hard to relax when the not-so-gentle breeze is forming my hair into a horizontal windsock which is in turn trying to scythe my scalp from my skull in a scandalous scene of scurrilous...scintillating...sc... Jesus, what's that ear-splitting roaring? The roaring of a million gallons of water cascading wildly down into a chaotic, spiky killing foam? Oh, it's a million gallons of water cascading wildly down into a chaotic, spiky killing foam. Oh, great! Thanks so very much, John. Would it have been so hard to write "relax and float downstream, but first ensure you are not on the Niagra"?! Damn you, Lenno-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o...
I think what I am trying to say is this: I'm not very good at relaxing. As I write, I am three-tenths of the way into a holiday, but no classy chilled Sancerre on a sun-baked piazza will be passing through my skint lips. No no no. Home is where the heart is, and home is where my heart is pacing from room to room shaking its little ventricle angrily at the walls. So; to relax. What can be done? Here's a few options I have been digging my hands into my pockets and loping grimly towards.
1. Why don't you go and get pampered?
Good point, pointless questioning writing device! I should probably get my hair done at some point soon, as I am tired of frightening birds, the hapless little fluttery idiots. Ah, but...this is not something I can get down and relax to. Here's the thing: I have both an enormous freakish potato of a head and just absurd amounts of hair. So whenever I do partake of a trip to the salon, there is always a guilty weariness to my trudge. Those poor devils. I can see it as I walk in. The stylist's eyes sweep across my mangy mane, and her smile falters ever so slightly before hardening into something frosted with hostility. She knows the next two hours of her life minutely dividing my hair into tiny segments and painting it with bleach will be repetitive, boring, stupid and difficult. It's amazing how having your hair done by someone who hates every strand of it can make you a little tense around the shoulders.
(Oh, and don't even get me started on the head massage post-washing. The moment the fingers turn from mere functional conditioner dispersement to passionate scalp rubbage, I turn into Mark Corrigan. "Oh God, the massage. Should I close my eyes? Might be rude not to...don't want her to think I'm not appreciating her work. And I look a bit stupid just staring wide-eyed at the ceiling like a hamster who's just spotted a slavering Alsatian. But closing my eyes feels a bit too sexual. God, I hate this touchy stuff. She doesn't actually want to have sex with me, why is she doing what could accurately be classified as foreplay? By the same logic, I may as well start groaning with pleasure and proffering people my erect penis." Luckily, I then remember I don't have a penis.)
2. Um... OK, just go and and get completely plastered or something, I don't know.
Ah, yes. Like that old advert said: "If relaxing's your aim, make boozing your game. CAUTION: side-effects of boozing may include sudden bursts of hysterical honesty, general whinging, massively inappropriate over-sharing, ill-advised attempts to chat up horrendous American musicians with frankly stupid moustaches, the inability to locate Charing Cross despite walking round and round and round and round and round Trafalgar Square, drowsiness when in presence of night buses and the comfy shoulders of silent goths, and a magnetic attraction to Mitcham."
It didn't even mention the hangover shame. Groo. And: not relaxing.
3. Fine, fine! Jesus! Why don't you just bugger off to somewhere windswept and isolated, where you can lose yourself in the russet-tinged beauty of the mountainous landscape, oh, and shove it up your arse while you're at it?
So, I am now nine-tenths of the way through the holiday, and it's taken me to the wonderful island of Skye, the wonderfulness of which is entirely not captured above, and here, finally, finally... As I turn round in my seat of my hired 2 litre Ford Mondeo after driving from Glasgow to Skye over 200 miles of winding country roads round lochs and through glens and Scottish Scottishness (where at one point I quite pathetically squeaked "Let's conquer Ben Nevis!" cos that is seemingly not over yet) and saw my loved ones, white with fear, frozen in horrified expressions, bleeding profusely from self-inflected nails-digging-into-palm wounds, and I finally feel totally relaxed. So thank you, Skye. Thank you for teaching me relaxation is delivering one-liners to an imaginary Top Gear camera in the dashboard while my family prays for deliverance through unuttered screams.