My Wife

My Wife and I decided to plan a holiday.  I like to read the newspaper with the television muted, in the period following tea and before our program begins at nine, whilst my wife messes about in the other room.  It was a moment during such a period, as I saw my wife enter the living-room to look in the bottom of a drawer for some piece of paper or other, that I suggested it.  I work away from home a lot and I felt we needed some quality time together, away from it all.  We settled on the first idea that came to mind; to travel by car to the coast of southern France followed by a two-week stay in a static caravan. Only one problem with that, I thought to myself.  Driving.  As a regional executive for a national pet food company, my work takes me up and down the motorway network visiting the mills, clients and distributors.  The area that I manage is England and Wales, North West District; Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Denbighshire, Mold, Wrexham, sometimes Staffordshire and The Potteries though rarely further than Birmingham or Leeds.  What I mean to say is; The matter of the 16-some hour drive to our plastic trimmed cabin in ‘Le Grand-motte’ was, although not physically or mentally a problem for me, nonetheless a factor of considerable irritation.  It’s not that my wife was insistent on this means of transport.  On the contrary, it was her that voiced such matters as 'it not being much of a break’ for me, that I was 'already up hill and down dale in the company car’ as it was.  In fact it was My Wife that suggested we ought to look at budget flights, at the train, a cruise in the Med.  She referred to the tension of navigating unfamiliar terrain, of not speaking the language, the difficulty of driving on the ‘wrong side of the road’.  Finally she spoke of the strains and stresses connected (either consciously or subliminally) to ‘the drive back’ that would bear down on the final days of our break and make it impossible for me to relax.  The worry that my wife was feeling was evident, It was written into her face as she scratched around looking for an unopened letter down the back of the sideboard.  The instant effect that my wife’s building anxiety had on me being able to concentrate on reading the newspaper was unbearable.  After reading the line ‘Chinese ship arrives in Suffolk after leaving Shanghai on maiden voyage’ for the third time I came to the conclusion that somebody had to make a decision. As my wife is incapable of making even the most minor decision, the responsibility, as usual, fell to me.  I swiped the broadsheet down onto my lap, and looked up over my spectacles at the ceiling rose “We’re driving” I said.

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