It's the final day of the holiday.
You look in your suitcase. Nothing.
You look in the hotel room safe. Nothing.
In desperation you ask the exotic dancer who is doing the lambada in your en-suite bathroom. She knows nothing.
You then wake up, in a cold sweat, in a chilly semi-detached in suburban Dagenham.
Yes, dear reader, what I have written is a dream sequence. If the situation was turned into a Hollywood film (*more movie references a little later) you would expect the image to be slightly blurred with some ominous harp music playing in the background. It may be a tired old trope from a lazy blogger, but it is a dream that needs analysing. Ask any amateur psychologist to determine the root of this nocturnal torment and they may throw a few theories at you. The Freudians may say you are looking for your mother. The Jungians would scoff at the Freudians before blaming the tension between your ego and unconscious.
Yet they are both wrong. The cause of your nightmare is.... the fear of not packing enough knickers for your holiday.
However, before you scoff, be mindful that new research shows that for 15 percent of Brits this is a VERY REAL condition. Yes, approximately 11 million people in the UK are crippled by the agonising notion that their dream holiday may be ruined by an unforeseen 'commando' situation. So, what is the government doing about this? Well, you will be pleased to know I have sent a fax marked 'urgent' to Cameron & Clegg demanding an immediate enquiry. Who knows, a crusade to remedy 'Commandophobia' ' may be just enough to heal any divisions within the coalition.
Yet before our friends in Downing Street swing into action they should be aware that the researchers behind this did not just look at underwear. On a broader note, they found that a quarter of us find holiday planning a headache.
Why? Well, get this. Contributing factors seem to be worrying about choosing the right travel companions, forgetting travel documents and nervousness that the resort won't live up to expectations.
Well, I wanted to delve a bit deeper, so I picked up the phone and put in a call to Annie Wilson, the UK MD of Kayak.co.uk, the people behind the research. I asked her if she thought these stats would lead to people cutting back on holidays;
"I don't believe it will. I think a holiday is an important time of year for all of us. We have a few weeks off each year, we work really hard and we all need some downtime to have some fun. I would encourage people to plan carefully and that can alleviate a lot of this stress."
All of this reminded me of my own tale of travel panic. A former girlfriend of mine was a teacher. After a few blissful weeks of romance we decided to put our burgeoning love to the test and take a holiday together. She checked her school's term dates, and the break was paid for.
It all sounds like the plot for the feel-good movie (*as promised earlier) of the year - but the tale was about to twist. It turned out that she had looked at the previous years school calendar, and we had blown our cash on a holiday we could not go on. Underwear was the least of our worries.
The outcome? Needless to say, she is no longer my girlfriend.
Reader, I married her.
#Cue soppy music, and end credits#Suggest a correction