August 20, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing?

Am just back from a family holiday in Seignosse in the southwest of France and am reminded of an old school-teacher's sarcastic take on my daydreaming: "Sometimes I just sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits."

I find it relatively easy to switch off but it's funny how difficult it is to take a holiday and do nothing at all - most days I just relaxed and read thrillers but a little voice occasionally urged me to see significance even in my idling. It's a blessing for commercial brand-builders, of course, but nowadays, it seems to me that it's impossible to do nothing. Somewhere, a bank or a tour operator is labelling that nothing as 'Paradise!' or 'The Great Escape' or something of the sort. Even where we choose to do that nothing - at home in the back garden or in Seignosse or on a deserted island - insists on saying something about who we are, what our values are etc.

It probably wasn't helped by my reading the utterly absorbing Pope's Children by David McWilliams, which traces the trends and behaviours of the Irish through the Celtic Tiger explosion and beyond (and proposes that we all fall into membership of one tribe or another through our impulses and responses to the changes around us).

My own holiday experience suggests that choosing to say or do nothing doesn't enable us to opt out. What is it the songwriter said in another context: 'We say it better, when we say nothing at all"?

Technorati Tag: David McWilliams, The Pope's Children

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