At one of my two jobs, I had four hours left of my annual leave, and knew that my boss would prefer me to use it up before the Christmas break, to start fresh for next year. I'd been waiting for something special to turn up to use it on, but that didn't seem to be happening. So instead I had one of those afternoons that reminded me that "nothing special" can actually be special after all.
First I walked home from work as usual, then I walked to the hairdresser and had a long overdue haircut and a pleasant chat to my (male) hairdresser. After I commented on my increasingly grey hair, and the fact that I still feel as if I am about 38 inside, he surprised me by telling me he is 69! Once, he would have looked very old to me - now he still looks quite young. I intended to take my car to the hairdresser, but forgot and walked. It was, after all, a beautiful day. So, I walked home, then collected the car, and went off for a bit of retail therapy. I bought new sports shoes suitable for off-road walking, a pedometer, and a couple of Christmas gifts, did a lot of browsing, filled the car with petrol and ended up at the library to return my library book due today. (Review to follow).
Then I decided to shout myself to a drink in the library cafe (iced chocolate, which was my drink of choice, but as it was getting towards their closing time, they had stopped serving hot drinks anyway). I spent a pleasant half hour or so over my hot chocolate, browsing one of the library's latest magazines. I love that they keep them on the shelves for a month before they can be borrowed, so it is easy to browse the latest issue, and somehow it feels much more of a treat to read it in the library than to but it and read it at home.
While I was reading a voice said "hello Catherine" and I looked up to see a local poet of my acquaintance, with his wife. I explained about the half day off, and he said "you don't have to apologise", to which I said "oh no, I'm saying what a pleasure it is." And it was, but I suspect that secretly a part of me really did feel I had to apologise or at least explain. Something to think about...
All in all, it feels like an afternoon very well spent.