It's just occurred to me that it's Easter.
The clues were all there. Varwell's blog stated "Happy Easter", there was an article on the BBC website about pious Filipinos crucifying themselves, and the supermarket here in Vitoria was rampacked full of chocolates, eggs, and chocolate eggs. But only now did I put these sly clues together, and like Holmes (Sherlock, not Eamonn) on a trail, everything suddenly became clear - it's Good Friday. Good grief.
I feel that Easter is a holiday that has got a little lost over the years. Two millennia ago, when the rabbit pushed a rock down a hill and set Jesus free, or something like that, no-one could have imagined that this would transmogrify into a celebration of buns, chocolate eggs and little chickens. We have some giant bunny bounding around, and we paint faces on boiled eggs. What's going on? Whereas Christmas has remained a solemn event free of hype and marketing, Easter - which I'd have thought was the defining period of Christianity - has become a gaudy exercise in surrealism. It's just a few bonus days off work, and nobody, save the very pious (re: the aforementioned Filipinos) seems to take it very seriously. Which I suppose is inevitable when the current celebration resembles some kind of psychadelic kids' cartoon.
Anyway, for me, not being a Christian, not working a job with conventional hours, and not even believing in rabbits, Easter looks to bypass me with minimum of fuss. I got onshore yesterday, and am currently recovering from this in a beach-side hotel. I stuck very much to my plan, formulated excitedly over days doing nothing on the rig, and drank a bottle of wine, four beers, and ranted and raved to myself - all within the confines of my hotel room (I didn't want to be arrested). The music, however, went askew, and shifted from banging techno to Radiohead then Leonard Cohen. This created a morose end to the night, and is likely the blame of my upsetting dream (an old cat sitting on top of a chair meiows, tries to scratch me when I stroke it, then seizes up and tumbles onto the ground! It dies a few moments later and then, when my mother enters the room, it's faded into a mere wisp of fur.)
But a coffee, and maybe a second one soon, looks set to revive me and gear me up for my day of... nothing. Yes, the ennui of existence continues. I've just been two weeks offshore doing nothing, but for a day and an evening of labour, and now I'm onshore in Vitoria to do nothing. Nothing but wait, wait until I'm needed to go offshore again, to pull a few things out of a hole, connect them to my laptop and then let the electronics do the work for me. Then I can go home.
So for now it seems I can relax and enjoy life alone in a hotel room. I reckon I've got at least ten days. A similar thing happened last year, with time to kill alone in Vitoria, though just for five days, and I quickly spiralled into a routine of wild wine drinking in the evenings, and daytimes of surly black coffee drinking followed by an expedition to buy another bottle of wine. I've vowed to be more constructive this time, and use my free days to study Portuguese, explore the city, maybe meet some locals, and be a lovely, wholesome chap.
We'll see how that works out. For now, in celebration of the day and as season dictates, I'm going to nail a rabbit to a cross and chuck it down a hill. Happy Eastermas!