Each week, like clockwork, a magical email drops into my inbox, and this pleases me. It’s not the obvious email that you would expect, not some lightly veiled call to action to buy the newest notepad / keyboard / office chair, but something with a little more appeal. It seems I have managed to unwittingly subscribe to the Lonely Planet’s sales offering, and on a weekly basis, am met with a plethora of suggestions of things to do with my days. I love to pour through the Caribbean with options to surf, sail and snorkel to my heart’s desire, or marvel at the colour of the sand in far-flung Asia; but what always peaks my interest that slight bit more are the city breaks. The pictures draw you into a world of mystery, windy little streets and ancient ruins aplenty, with tiny little eateries along the way for you to stop and sip an espresso, why wouldn’t you want to pack up and leave?
Why don’t you visit Venice? The e magazine shouts at me, like the big issue man in the middle of the city. Why DONT I? I think. While the rain collides with the window pane on a dreary ‘summer’ day, I could be walking the cobbles in an Italian city; getting lost in the little alleyways of Marrakesh, or marvelling at history gone before me in the Parthenon. (don’t ask me to elaborate the thunderstorm part of the daydream, but the thought of thunder and rain appeals far more than the summer sun. The smell of the tarmac right before a thunder-storm calms me. It must be my heritage).
And then, as easily as it tempted me to stray away from the disappointment of the working week, to wipe the rain off my flip-flops and hook out the passport that has been living in my knicker drawer since the dawn of time, it goes and ruins the whole thing. Having become a firm fan of this whimsical newsletter, it lifts me up and drops me from a height faster than a freight train coming towards me. It’s just the one phrase, all it takes to make me hate the thing.
“Why not book a fabulous weekend for a romantic getaway in the city of love!!” or such like. Always different words, but semantically, it’s the same.
Why not? Well, that’s a good question. This automatically makes you feel that, as a single person, you would be persona non gratis if on your own, almost like showing up at a party with only one shoe. I’m not sure the swanky hotel that I had already made a reservation at (in my head of course) would be happy that my guest was the cat, who acts badly in social situations and would most probably poo on the floor.
So I will remain firmly at my desk, staring out of the window and waiting for the familiar ‘ping’ of the next magnificent mail …