Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter


Day 186

The swallows (I think they’re swallows) here in Agios Nikolaos are in kamikaze mode this morning, dive-bombing the balconies, looking for their nests under the roof tiles, and aborting at the last moment. One crash-landed on the balcony of the next room along a few minutes ago. This is the earliest I’ve been up on this holiday (06:30), ironically, and it’s going to be a very long day. As I walked out onto the balcony earlier, an older local woman was wading into the sea down below for what I presume is her daily early morning swim. And why wouldn’t you? I wonder if she does it in the winter, too. Although that wouldn’t be quite so pleasant.

My brain is a bit of a mess this morning, half-way between holiday and work, already making lists of what I need to prioritize tomorrow morning, already thinking I need to get into my office tonight as soon as we get back so I can re-establish the VPN connection for work after the machine has been off for over 2 weeks (and Microsoft can make that process a pain in the arse, to be honest) so I don’t waste time and stress doing it in the morning.

Maybe this is a reflection everyone has at the end of their holidays – that something does have to change, that this constant driving to do things incessantly is ultimately self-destructive, that all the things we do are actually driven by the greed of the 0.01%, no matter what it is that we do, no matter how charitable or exciting our jobs are (and there’s a longer exposition on this waiting to be written, and it will probably again include an argument for a universal basic salary, but that’s for another day). I am making sure I take a deep breath every time I think about the mass of emails I’ll be going back to (and I bet M last night that it will be in excess of 300 actionable ones), and trying to get myself into the mindset (and staying there) of dealing with them calmly and slowly and in work hours alone, that I won’t do my impression of the kamikaze swallows and crash and burn doing 12-hour days again.

The streets down there are getting busier now, floors being swept, rubbish trucks wending their way across the cobbles, joggers in their wake, and the aound of the surf drifting up to my balcony, shouts and loud conversations, life moving on. Yes, there is always an imperative to keep moving, and what I’ve done in the past two weeks is proof of that because I have not been able, nor wanted, to stay entirely still, but I think we need to do it at our own pace.

I wish myself and M safe travels today.


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