I am confronted by a dead pigeon. Its body hard pressed and flattened to the floor. Its face contorted to a fixed expression of doom. Its guts spread across the road. I sigh. We are one. Its state reflects how I am feeling.
I pass a stranger who takes the time to smile warmly at me. I sneer back and mutter obscenities under my breath. If I could, I'd place a jihad on them.
A small child plays innocently and hands me a flower. I receive the flowery gift and - whilst staring into his innocent eyes - crush it into the floor with much satisfaction, causing the child to reel away in tears. His mother looks on in horror. I spit in her general direction.
No, I haven't suddenly become French - I have Post-holiday blues. And quite frankly, I'm not a happy bunny. I'm a dead pigeon.
Damn you Italy. For you have left a mark. With your 'Ciaos' and your 'Pregos' and your constant sunshine-lit consumption of pasta.
Damn everything and everyone for bringing so much fun and all round joy.
Damn my friends for getting married in such a wondrous setting equipped with a private coastline and swimming pool which allowed everyone to strip drunkenly down to their underwear and cavort from the diving board as others chose to flash their bits. The scores of female guests who felt bras and knickers were appropriate swimming attire unaware that despite what others expressed, it actually was see-through when wet.
Damn the free bar.
Damn the awesome food.
Damn the wasps who entertained me by eating huge quantities of meat and had me thinking that wasps were on the verge of taking over the planet until someone reassured me that they've always eaten meat.
And most of all, damn my travelling companion (she wishes to remain nameless, so for arguments sake let's call her 'Steve') for keeping the humour levels cranked to level 11, putting up with my annoying jokes, and for having such beautiful shoulders.
Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Jean-Claude Van Damme damn!
It begs me the question; if this is how I feel when I return from such joyous frivolities, then why do I bother in the first place? Surely my life is best served as one long flat line...? Neither happy nor sad. A man bouncing from place to place with no expression of sadness or joy. Content just to eat selection of mundane foods and perform an array of mundane tasks. Patiently waiting in line in yet another Tescos/Sainsburys waiting for the robotic voice to tell me to go to "Cashier number 4 please". Instead I use the self-service tills, lethargically passing barcodes that belong to much visited sandwich combinations. "Please insert your debit or credit card". I do as I am told. I press my number like a prisoner confirming his whereabouts. No communication is made. No expression of emotion is had. I walk zombie-like through my life. But it's okay. Without the highs, there can be no lows. It's easier that way.
We often think that holidays offer us a chance to recharge our batteries. Trouble is, I'm pretty sure they weren't charged in the first place. Instead we are shown a world filled with happiness. Next time I think I'll plump for a holiday from hell. That seems to be the answer. Awful companions. Animal shit for food. An array of grey weather. A glimpse of a life that is shitter than yours, so whence, upon your return, the rest of your life seems paradise-like in comparison. Perhaps that's why people holiday in London. Perhaps that's why I live in London. Perhaps I don't have a clue what I'm talking about anymore. Perhaps I should cheer up and just get on with life. But you see, I can't. The poolside frolics have gone. The mid-morning consumption of alcohol has gone. The 25 degrees centigrade temperature has gone. Mine and 'Steve's' game of pronouncing every Italian street name in a ridiculous Italian accent (yes, 'Steve' was as every bit as annoying as me), has gone. Instead what is left is a bitter man. Ever thankful for the times, but every bit saddened that the good times can't roll on forever.
Yes, yes I know, I'm bumming everyone out. And actually I'm starting to feel better already. I just saw a man tread in dogshit. His anguished face and screams of displeasure cheered me immensely. And you know what? I just remembered that football exists. And strip bars. And pubs. And proper milk. So it's not all bad. Actually, life's pretty great. I don't even remember what I was moaning about. But, for safety's sake, probably best I don't take any decent holidays ever again. And neither should that pigeon.