Fishing out the herring in the pudding

Wait, haven’t we been here before? We seem to have done a three-sixty and somehow landed in the autumn of last year. The highs were lovely, but we’ve looped back around – or have we?

A sense of foreboding kept me from watching the press conference. The outcome was well known and acceded to beforehand, almost with a sense of apathy. The numbers brook no arguments, and they’re plain for all to see. Sure enough, the packet was just what the doctor ordered, with a familiar label that ominously read, ‘Three weeks’.

‘It’s back to the cell with me’, I thought. Back to the enforced monasticism of months past. To hours on end spent confined to the room, staring at a screen. To dreary daily routines, without the respite of an odd pils with friends. I could see the colour draining from the city’s streets, as hordes of students trudged resignedly to their homes – where the party would continue, but now on their neighbours’ tab.

Yet, the bizarre thing of being so fed up with everything, is that eventually you get sick of it. Sure, all our plans for the coming weeks needed to be binned, and perhaps we won’t get to ice-skate across the Grote Markt this year either.

But at this point, it’s the farthest thing from a surprise. Why then was I moping like a child being denied ice cream? There was a herring in the pudding, and it needed to be fished out.

The fear of missing out has melted away as well

Perhaps we are in the autumn of last year, but we’re also a year older and wiser. The lofty firewood castles that were our dreams for the winter holidays may well have collapsed, but the fear of missing out has melted away as well.

Sure, invitations to get-togethers are scarcer than half-decent eierbals, but you’re also spared the bike rides in the freezing wind that were needed to get there. This doesn’t help in the least, does it?

Like the medieval monks of UKrant write-up last week, I don’t think I’m in any position to proffer advice or encouragement. All I can say, is that I’m more attune to my shortcomings than a year ago. An evening of hilarity has sometimes worked better than medicine, and reaching out has saved me weeks of hardship. I’ve learnt that seclusion can be splendid at times, but that it’s best carried out with company.

A shelf packed with tea and coffee, and a pillar of books I’ve always wanted to read have made it easier to make peace with having to wait this out. Though not quite.


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