My loss of autonomy

Back again, darling. S’been a while, I’m aware, but to get back into things, I’m going to make this relatively short and sweet.

The crux of the matter this time is my loss of autonomy and general inability to do or think anything for myself when on holiday with the family, and in particular, when living under the iron rule of Dad.

All of a sudden, When the countdown clock strikes zero hour on family holiday time, I lose all sense of my ability to look after myself and revert to infant mode. Here are some examples of what I mean.

From the moment I show Dad that I have my passport and it is not lost – about 2 weeks before we go away, also around the time that he starts packing and scorns everyone else for not starting packing – and he whisks it away from my hands into a ‘safe place’, I do not see it again for the rest of the holiday. Except when he gives all the passports to me to hold for a minute whilst he goes to the toilet just after checking in at the airport. And when he does this, an immediate sickness overcomes me. Panic, fear of responsibility, and a general feeling that I am simply a child and that this is not the sort of major task you give to a child, envelop me. Prior to giving rickb my passport two weeks ago, I had held onto it throughout trips to Prague, Macedonia, Albania and a month long tour of Israel, and had not so much as batted an eyelid. In israel, i had to hold on to the passports of every one of the 40 kids as well as my own, and didn’t think twice about it. Bizarre it is, my dear.

I never set my own alarm. Why would I, when I get a wake up call every morning? From Dad, mind, not reception. This in itself isn’t so bad, but I am usually a man who likes to have a vague idea as to whether he’ll be waking closer to 6 or 12. And last night, I asked Rachel what time we would be breakfasting the next morning, and when she replied with a nonchalant ‘I dunno’, I turned over – probably with an inane grin on my face – contented with that answer, and went to sleep. This might not seem weird to you, my dear, but it is really bloody out of character for me.

I think the lack of concern regarding wake up hours stems from a deeper lying apathy towards having and then carrying out specific plans. Why would I trouble myself with plans? It’s all planned out for me. I wake up, put my clothes on, and am then directed to food, activities, excursions, more food, a few sites here, a cafe there, and then more food again, before being deposited at my room, tired from a hard day’s holidaying and satisfied from ample food consumption. I rarely have any idea where we’re walking to, and even more rarely do I think to enquire as to where we might be headed. I no longer have any idea how to look after myself. I couldn’t use public transport even if I wanted to. But why would I want to? Why would a child like me ever think to use public transport? It’s scary on there, because there are robbers and murderers. Just like there are everywhere in the world that’s not the hotel that I’m staying at, the 5 metres between the hotel and the car, the car, and the beautifully set out tourist sites, cafes and shops that we go to.

In short, I am no longer an autonomous, free thinking 21 year old on the cusp of manhood (ahem), and have instead – and I hope temporarily – become a stupid, mindless, overprotected child. But it’s all fine, because the big man has the big plan. And I shall follow him everywhere. Because he knows best.

I suppose I am like a sim. Or a lemming. I am wound up with the key attached to my back, pointed in a direction, and then I walk. If that direction were towards a cliff edge then so be it. And I would walk to my death. And I wouldn’t even have that ‘so be it’ air of resignation to my thoughts because it wouldn’t occur to me that walking off a cliff would be a bad thing to do – if Dad had suggested it. Must be worth seeing.

This is all rather off putting for you, isn’t it my dear? You don’t love me anymore, do you?

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