The Incredible Shrinking Essay

After weeks of agonizing worry and sleepless tossing and turning  due to stress and too much caffeine, I finally turned in my last essay: the longest 15000 words ever. The night before it was due, I was significantly over my word limit,  hacking away at entire sentences with a machete.  The thing is, I was distracted by travel lust. Spring is when I become smitten with wanderlust, spending  hours looking up holiday destinations that I have no intention of visiting.

This year was particularly bad. Rather than concentrate on work, I indulged in my travel fantasies to such a degree that I even started making contact. That’s right, I emailed actual people with fictitious questions and requests.

Dear Roberta, I have just seen your website and WOW! I am completely taken with your villa/penthouse apartment/country house/chalet. Is the pool as big as it looks in the photo?  Can you tell me if you have a tennis court? We are looking forward to spending our evenings sipping wine on your lovely veranda and gazing at the stars. How many people would you say fit in the hottub/jacuzzi?

When the responses started flooding in, I was surprised at many people made provisional bookings for us with little to no prompting. I had to quickly come up with creative replies that let them down gently but firmly.

Dear Roberta, Thanks so much for your prompt reply. I regret to inform you that sadly, we have changed our minds. We have decided to holiday elsewhere instead. But I will certainly keep your email on file for next time we travel to your wonderful seaside/resort/city. It is a shame really, your villa/penthouse/country house/chalet looked divine. I’m afraid that wine & jacuzzi will have to wait for another time.

No wonder my essay was in such a bad state! If there is a hell, I was going there for holiday fantasy fraud. I wonder what my eternal torment would be? Sitting at a travel agency looking at cheap brochures of over-priced one-star package holidays. Serves me right. Funny, now that I am free of the pressures of class assignments, I’m over my wanderlust. Time to go book a real holiday. Somewhere I can actually afford.

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