I go on beach holiday by myself. When I used to go with friends, they were complaining that I don’t talk to them. Normally, I never shut up, but in this instant they were right. On the beach or by the pool, I read, swim, sometimes listen to audiobooks. No talking. I used to talk to friends at dinner, that was nice. But now I am travelling alone, I don’t mind. In the restaurants, I order the food, read, eat, pay and go.
In the evenings, I am usually writing on my laptop.
This time, because of my book launch, I also had phone calls and emails about my book. I had a very kind and generous offer from the International Women’s Writing Guild ( IWWG) of which I am a member, that they will include me as a featured reader on an Open Mic this autumn. They will ask me some questions and I will be able to read for about 18 minutes from my book. Very exciting.
Marbella is beautiful, but I only spent some time going to eat out in the evening.
6 weeks before the book launch is a busy time.
In the hotel, there was a nice English couple who kept talking to everybody, small talk, very friendly, but not my thing. The third day, their lounge chairs were next to mine. I smiled and continued reading. That didn’t stop the questions and chat. What worked was me exaggerating my already strong Czech accent and saying. “ My English not so good”. We exchanged friendly grins, and that was it.
Unfortunately, two days later, I was chatting to somebody from the BBC on my mobile, in English, in a Czech accent, of course, but in the way I normally speak. I am lucky, BBC Radio 4 will record a program about emigration with me. It is a series called For Thought. They will mention my book, too. That is of course amazing. I talk louder when I am excited.
I only noticed the chatty couple sitting behind me when I stopped the phone call.
Embarrassed, I didn’t know what to say. Then I went for the truth.
“ I am so sorry, I like my solitary holidays, so I sometimes pretend I only speak Czech. I was antisocial. Please forgive me.”
I smiled and went for a swim. Rude, I know.
Were they angry? Probably. They also probably talked to others. Nobody talked to me, not even at the airport. But the British are a tolerant lot. They were all still smiling at me when I said “ Hello” and only replied “ Hello” back. No weather talk, no questions, just smiles. I should have been nicer, maybe even telling them about my book. But I didn’t talk to anybody…
I had a nice holiday and did a lot of work, too.
Did they judge me? Will you judge me when you read this? Maybe. I hope not. I only get like this on a beach holiday…and before a book launch.