There is comfort in familiarity, and this is a vastly underrated thing.
Now, dear reader, this is a sentiment I would have strongly disagreed with in my youth. As I suppose, would all of you in the days when midnight was but the start of an evening, and digestion was something that magically happened with no thought being given to the matter.
But today, when hair is both greyer and scarcer, and when your thoughts on the evening before are primarily about the morning after – ah, today is different.
Now, there are those among you who will dismiss all of what I say airily, and perhaps even adopt a condescending stance. Mayhaps with a sneer on your visage. People, in other words, younger than thirty.
And who can blame you? I myself would have done the same thing. Pah, piffle and pshaw, I’d have snorted, and dragged you off for a snifter or a dozen of your favourite poison. But today, I choose comfort over celebration, and cosiness over cheer. And above all, familiarity over the unknown.
This manifests itself in myriad ways, dear reader, but today I speak of one aspect in particular. And if you are of a particular age, I submit, I think you will find yourself in agreement.
There is, I aver, no greater joy than sitting on your own throne in the morning. No greater joy in the world. You may be offered an ensuite room at the fanciest hotel in the best city in the world, but it matters not a whit. I speak, and you will agree, of just having a commode to call your own.
For a certain amount of time, usually in the morning, your bathroom, and your commode, becomes your own little sanctuary, where none may intrude.
Everything is just so – articles in the basin exude a sense of familiarity, clothes hung on the back of the bathroom door give off an aura of homeliness, and in my own case, the pencil to solve the crossword lies just where it should (just behind the tray that holds all the creams that the missus uses).
That ten minute window, out of necessity, maybe, is all yours, and only yours. Which, you might say, is also true of the ensuite room in the fanciest hotel in the best city – but that would be missing the point.
Doing your business in your own home brings a sense of belonging, being centred and peacefulness that nothing else possibly can.
Try this the next time you’re back from a long trip. This may happen during the day, in the evening, or even late at night. Whenever nature next issues her call, and you find yourself atop your perch, ask of yourself at just that moment, and you’ll find I’m right – it is at that point that you truly feel at home.
And the best thing about travel these days therefore isn’t setting out to reach somewhere. It’s about getting back home, to sit on the throne.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime