You get back from a week away and you could predict what the post would be.
A couple of flyers from local takeaways, a leaflet from a useless politician, an advertising brochure for cruises (seriously, do I look like someone who would go on a seniors’ cruise), and the wage slip from the Luddite government department which thinks that posting letters to every teacher in the country on a fortnightly basis is a good use of money.
Why couldn’t there be something exciting? Why couldn’t there be a letter from a solicitor advising me of a legacy from some rich person I had known years ago? Why couldn’t there be a letter from an old friend who had not spoken to me for a while? Why couldn’t there have been an invitation to some exciting event or gathering? (It would have to be particularly exciting and particularly interesting, I had a pair of complimentary tickets for an Ed Sheeran concert next Sunday night which I gave away because it offered the prospect of neither excitement nor interest).
And why does the washing multiply while you are away? Not enough that my bag was filled with washing, but the clothes that I left behind must have gone out by themselves, for the laundry basket was completely full.
Why does your world not change when you are away? A week can seem a long time to be absent, so why are there not the sort of changes that take a long time?
The feeling is one that has been around since childhood years, the wish to return from holiday and to find everything different. I am not sure why it lingers. While most teachers would probably be happy not to return to work next week, I would be anxious at any further absence (as it was, I worked up until last Thursday afternoon). Yet there remains a vague hope that turning the key in the door will mark the beginning of some new dispensation.
The one thing that I would have most welcomed was a letter or card from the old friend, but it is a vain hope. As Neil Young sings in Four Strong Winds.
Still I wish you’d change your mind
If I asked you one more time
But we’ve been through that a hundred times or more
So in the absence of an inherited fortune or a word of reconciliation, there remains nothing to do other than start the washing machine.