Did you have a lovely Eid? You did? Well that’s good, I’m glad. Spend some time with the family? Marvellous. Me? No. No, I mainly spent those precious post-Ramadan evenings sitting around at home with the air-con up, eating biscuits and waiting for everything to open again, occasionally playing a spot of Angry Birds to pass the time.
You see, when you work for a weekly magazine, the holidays everyone else takes for granted simply don’t exist. There are deadlines to hit, and I’m not very well going to hit them if I’m trekking through the Omani mountain ranges or seeking spiritual enlightenment in Goa, am I? And that’s fine. I honestly don’t mind being chained to my desk while you’re off sailing in the French Riviera, I really don’t. Just as long as you don’t expect me to sit through each and every one of your holiday pictures afterwards.
Seriously, why do you do it? It’s like handing a plate of oysters to a man who’s just recovered from severe, life-threatening food poisoning. At latest count, I’ve sat through five personal ‘Eid break’ slideshows, taking me on a yawnsome world tour that included stops in the US, Jordan, China and – worst of all since I used to live there and know all too well what it looks like – Britain. As for Facebook, I daren’t even fire up my browser for fear of having dreamy images of sunsets and grinning children forced into my eyes.
Insensitivity aside, looking through other people’s holiday photos has always been one of the most mind-numbing activities a man can endure, right up there with buying insurance and talking about feelings. I’m sure it’s just a form of mass social vengeance, whereby people feel the need to inflict snapshots of their own happiness on to others, in return for dinner parties spent feigning interest in other peoples’ dreary, badly framed nonsense.
Still, there are ways to escape. After a week-long trip to the States, a friend of a friend returned with his holiday snaps loaded up on to his new iPad (he picked it up cheap in New York, the smug idiot). Laying on the interested-sounding noises and intrigued-looking eyebrow contortions that I by this point had down to a fine art, I simply tapped the home button, scrolled through the apps and had a lovely game of Angry Birds.
‘Statue of Liberty looks great.’
‘Cool, thanks Dave! Sorry if some were boring – I took a lot.’
‘No, not at all!’ I lied. And that was the end of that.