catherine deneuve, belle de jour, alone, at home, lonely, bank holidays

Bank holiday blues

We’re at the beginning of the bank holiday concertina, that curious time of year when they all crunch up together in a flurry of four-day weeks just as the days lengthen and the roses bloom. Cheering, no? Well, actually… no. Or at least… depends.

I have a kind of reverse seasonal adjustment disorder: I find the long evenings, the optimistically bright mornings rather exposing and melancholic. Sometimes British summer time feels like one long conga line of forced fun. The expectation is happiness; the reality can be a kind of disenfranchised loneliness.

A bank holiday is, for all its sweet relief, a disruptor. At least Christmas – unsettling though it may be – is cold and dark. Not glary and laid bare. Bank holidays make some of us delirious with joy, and others of us deranged with panic.

If we are feeling at all vulnerable, at all fragile, bank holidays breed loneliness. Married or single, for the less emotionally robust they can be the thing that does it. The thing that nudges us over the edge of coping.

Loneliness is a peculiar proposition; so different from solitariness. And self-imposed loneliness is the oddest of all. Unable to handle crowds, chat, kindness, company, we sometime sequester ourselves away on bank holidays to… recover from life in some way. Reject the cult of busyness and the conspiracy of enjoyment. The prospect is a heady delight, so why can the reality be so confusing. Space to grow is one thing. Space to go mad is another. So don’t worry if you feel a bit weird on Monday. Just go easy…

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