Humans, as you are no doubt aware, are a shiftless, workshy bunch, so it may surprise you to learn that they schedule regular breaks from their apparently strenuous labors. These extended periods of downtime are known as holidays or vacations, and they serve no purpose whatsoever.

To the Gloabon eye, time that could productively be spent on a thorough reorganization of, say, a well-stocked broom closet, is frittered away on such doubtful activities as sunbathing or sightseeing. The former is a largely solitary pastime and involves nothing more than the removal of a few clothes and the vigorous application of thick layers of white unguents: creams designed to circumvent the harmful action of the sun’s rays, i.e. to carry out the job previously undertaken by said clothes. From this simple observation, it can be seen that sunbathing is very much a zero-sum game.

Sightseeing, on the other hand, is a communal act underpinned by basic human insecurity. Away from their homes, many humans feel that they cannot be trusted to know what to look at, and so they rely heavily on signs, labels, and the presence of crowds to indicate which sights may be worthy of closer inspection. Suitable buildings, artworks, or geographical features are adorned with large amounts of explanatory text, but almost no one reads this information, so for most humans, these signs could be abbreviated to three simple words: Look at this.

As an experiment, I visited a park and affixed a small sign containing a selection of random words to a particularly unimpressive boulder. Within minutes, a few humans had paused to consider the boulder. One by one, passersby added to the number of onlookers, many of them taking photos of themselves with the boulder in the background, and soon, a small crowd formed. I decided to make a tactical withdrawal, but I returned a few days later to remove the sign. Unfortunately, I’d left it too late. The boulder had been surrounded by a tall fence, and a couple of enterprising droids had set up a stall to sell tickets. I tried to explain the situation, having been forced to join the long queue of visitors before the droids would even talk to me, but I’m afraid that the droids were less than sympathetic. As we argued, a burly lady told me to buy a ticket or step aside as she’d risen at the crack of dawn and driven her five children for over six hours in a beaten up station wagon with no air-con and a busted radio to see the boulder, and she was damned if she was going to be deprived of this rare treat by “a jumped-up, toffee-nosed busybody with a bad attitude and worse manners.”

“My dear lady,” I replied frostily, “I’ll have you know that I passed top of my class in basic courtesy at the academy of human interaction.” At least, that’s what I tried to say, but it was hard to make a cogent argument when five small humans were kicking me in the shins while their mother made valiant efforts to beat them, and me, around the head and neck with a large wicker picnic basket.

I had a choice, dear reader: either use my influence to have the offending humans zinged up to our orbiting space station, The Gamulon, or gracefully step aside. Naturally, I chose the latter path, mainly to avoid the reams of paperwork that accompany an emergency abduction, but my ordeal was far from over. The dratted droids wouldn’t let me leave until they’d sold me a picture postcard of the boulder and a decorated short-sleeved shirt bearing the legend: I saw the boulder and it rocks!

How I’ll write that expense off against tax, I have no idea, but I’ll give it a good go.

But let us move onto a more pleasant part of the vacation process.

Whilst visiting a foreign country or distant location, the holidaymaker is forced to eat out, frequenting as many restaurants, cafes, and other eateries as possible. Dining out while on vacation is very much like dining out on any other day odd the year, but on holiday, there is usually a lot more alcohol involved. A busy day of sightseeing seems to give humans an almost insatiable thirst, and free from the cares of the working week, they give free rein to their long-suppressed urges. That second glass of wine becomes a second bottle, and you can guess the rest. Fortunately, humans can blame the after-effects of their over-indulgence on a fictional ailment unknown to medical science: travelers’ tummy. This largely unspecified illness covers a multitude of sins, and since humans prefer not to detail the workings of their digestive tract in public, a diagnosis of travelers’ tummy largely goes unchallenged.

For bonus points, some humans begin their holiday mood on the plane to their destination, in which case, the hangover is referred to as jet lag. Humans have a persistent idea that they were not meant to travel at high speed around their planet, believing that they must pay the price for breaking the laws of nature, but while this notion does have some merit, I often feel tempted to point out that humans were really never meant to imbibe five large gin and tonics while sitting hunched in a tiny seat for hours on end and breathing a dangerous mixture of recycled air, stale sweat, and methane.

But despite all my reservations about the habit of taking a vacation, I have to observe that it does make humans happier. For a week or two, they shed their worries along with their inhibitions and some of their more restrictive items of clothing, and they enjoy themselves. How they manage this is beyond me, but they manage it nonetheless, becoming friendlier, more outgoing, and generally more well-disposed to each other. It really is quite strange, and so, in the interests of furthering Gloabon knowledge, I’ve bought a package trip to the Arctic. The price was reasonable, and apparently, there used to be some ice around the North Pole. I plan on visiting the algae farms and the pineapple plantation, and I’m told that if you know where to look, there are some very interesting boulders. I really must remember to take my camera.

Bon voyage!

MYSABFL,

R.

You may comment below, but any foolishness may well result in you receiving a visit from a member of the Earth Liaison Unit. You have been warned. Thank you.

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