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Why I would like to do a murder and other stories

Holiday musings

By Hannah MoorePublished 5 months ago 4 min read

Outside, the snow is falling steadily, gusting past at an angle closer to horizontal than perpendicular. A layer of white is accumulating on the wooden balustrade of the balcony, and tall pines stand stark against the white sky, hazy shadows of sloped roofed buildings with smatterings of lit windows reminding me I am not alone. I am sat now, tired limbs heavy in warm pyjamas, my children snug on the red and white covered sofa, later to become my bed, the fairy lights adding a mantle of cheer above their heads.

I am on holiday. But this is not a relaxing, stress-free holiday. No, this, firstly, is a FAMILY holiday. With my children. Which is how I always holiday, which is why I really have no idea what a stress-free holiday actually IS. Secondly, I rather had to bring MYSELF. Again, this is usual, and another cause of perpetual tension. But thirdly, it is a skiing holiday. Our second family skiing holiday. Last time my daughter, who’s autistic brain hyperfixates on things such as maps, slime or Minecraft, was going through a reading phase. That Christmas she devoured a book a day, more or less, and the trip was more relaxing for it. I read a whole one myself, across the week. Bliss! This time, however, she is not in a reading phase. No. She’s in a health anxiety phase. Will I get frostbite, will my eyes freeze, will I die from the altitude. If this lift breaks down, will I die of hypothermia. Am I going to die in the night. Of course, while she has anxiety about all of these things and many, many more, she does not appear to have anxiety about the proportional increase of risk relative to speed. Which is also somewhat stress inducing for a mother.

Skiing itself, though joyful, can hardly be considered relaxing, and as I said earlier, I had to bring myself, mind and body, on this trip, which adds to the complexity. I enjoy the exhilaration, the sense of mastery as I improve my technique, and the mountain views. I enjoy less the arthritic shoulder joint, buggered back and nagging knee. Fortunately I have a two week course of prescription anti-inflammatory pain medication to settle my shoulder, and thus may not currently be experiencing the full picture of how much this is hurting me! However, I am painfully aware of how much it is hurting my bank balance. As fatigue settles in, I continue to cry out for one more run as I strive to maximise the minutes spent sliding down a hill on sticks per euro.

There is one thing, however, that supersedes all of this as a source of stress. One thing, above all else, that has my blood pressure heaving against my artery walls and acid burning holes in my stomach lining. I am English, you see. I imagine I could use the term British here, but I don’t wish to speak for other nations. Skiing, you may or may not know, involves repeatedly and intentionally sliding down a snow clad steep bit of hill with varying degrees of control over the process. But in order to get UP the hill so that one can come down it, we must use a lift. There are a number of lift varieties, all with their pros and cons, but all of them, every one, shares a defining feature so odious that finding it missing is akin to arriving at a restaurant to be told all food is free today. I am speaking, you may have guessed, of the queue.

Now, in England, we can queue for England. So to speak. Did you see the queue to see the Queen lying in state? I was minded to travel to London in order to join it! I will admit that I do have some FOMO issues. When a volcano erupts you are more likely to see my travelling towards it than away. However, it is not simply in the formation of a queue that we excel. It is in the preservation of the sanctity of the queue. A queue has rules. They are simple but fundamental and can be summarised thus. The person in front of you is in front of you, while the person behind is behind. Whatever a person’s political persuasion or faith, these rules are sacrosanct. There is legitimacy, but no obligation, to invite pregnant women or small potty training age children to cut in ahead of you when waiting for the lavatory, and it is permissible to allow those with extremely obvious physical challenges, such as no legs at all, to move to the front of the line to board public transport. But otherwise, the queue rules are as entrenched as the slamming of the doors of the House of Commons in the face of Black Rod so that he may open parliament correctly. Yes. That entrenched.

Across the channel, queueing is as different as football is in America and Europe. Yes, there is still a ball, but it’s not even the same shape. Across the channel, one is free to hurl oneself into a huddle bulging from the entry point one wishes to gain access to like a boil from a follicle. Once there, the object is to outsmart all other comers by shimmying and slithering into any and all openings, paying no heed to the proper rules of linear succession whatsoever. And this, my friends, is why this holiday is so deeply stressful. Never have I desired so much the karmic catastrophe of falling off a drag lift to befall so many small children. Would I be sorry if you dropped your pole on the chair lift. I would not I tell you! I would not!

And here I must remind myself to breathe. It is dark now, and I will venture out into the snow to watch a bunch of skiers descend the mountain bearing coloured torches, because this will be beautiful, and because we humans are a strange, strange bunch. A happy new year to you all.


About the Creator

Hannah Moore

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  • Test5 months ago

    Enhoyed this and so very true. Queing here has not rules. No one queues, they flock and grapple. Never got the han of it and always end up trampled.

  • Novel Allen5 months ago

    Queueing, weird word. Bah humbug. Still not sure that you are enjoying the holiday 🥰. But like Dhar, I have JOMO/FOMO. I have never ski-ed. I must try it out sometime. Hope it gets better. Happy new year.

  • Paul Stewart5 months ago

    Funny...I was joking about queues with Ceilia in a comments section somewhere lol. Hope the torch show and pretty lights were at least something. I was drawn initially, aside from it being a piece by you, by the title. "do a murder" so British haha. Made me smile immediately. Sorry it's been quite a stressful holiday for you. Hope the New Year brings you all kinds a good stuff, though, Hannah!

  • You have FOMO but I have JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), lol. But if it's a volcano erupting, then I'm definitely having FOMO hahahahahahhaah!

  • Rachel Deeming5 months ago

    I concur with Cathy. Canadians are orderly queuers. Enjoy the torch show. Happy New Year! What a great way to spend it.

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    Ah, yes, the QUEUE. A holy covenant 😁

  • D. J. Reddall5 months ago

    A strange bunch we most surely are. Nicely done!

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    That was a wonderful read. I would probably want to throw someone off the chairlift as well. It seems we Canadians are similar to you in the rules of the queue. Enjoy the rest of your trip, and have a Happy new year.

  • Lana V Lynx5 months ago

    Now this was funny, thanks for the chuckle, Hannah! And Happy New Year to you as well!

  • Dana Crandell5 months ago

    Such an enjoyable read, Hannah! Happy New Year!

  • Shirley Belk5 months ago

    I so love your descriptions and the way you tell a story. This one made me laugh because I am a mother and grandmother (have rearing children experience,) am American and not British, and because we all have these kind of murderous but harmless thoughts.

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