OPINION: There's a great deal to be said for a well-savoured aftermath.
Or even anti-climax.
The Mayan Apocalypse has passed in one of two modes: either safely ignored or relegated to mock-scare status.
After which, a rather more consequential Christmas has come and gone with most of us suffering nothing worse than dietary mishaps.
So now calm descends?
Well, things might yet be a tad frenetic for those Boxing Day bargain hunters who haven't yet had their fill of shoulder-to-shoulder shopping.
Or for those whose children have gift certificates that couldn't possibly wait another day to be redeemed.
Or for those luckless wretches who find themselves working. Sucks to be them.
But most of us have now entered what should be, at least in some measure, a time of rest and recreation.
Today is a foretaste of that. A day to exhale, kick back, and perhaps enjoy a sense of companionship.
Done right, Boxing Day is like a sifted Christmas Day, with many of the yuletide's benefits still intact, but more than a few of the stresses filtered out.
A day less burdened by expectations. The easier, downhill bit.
We are also entering a time of year when it is important to enjoy, and crucial to look after, your families. They are the most important thing you've got.
So sad, then, that Invercargill police were called to 29 domestic violence incidents between Friday and Christmas Eve. We are not entitled to assume that each one of those was necessarily a reflection of the pressures of the season but there was a dismal sense of plausibility, bordering on inevitability, when police confirmed that by their tally each and every one was alcohol related.
As many families enter a time of recreation, the seasonal encouragements for caution are as justified now as ever they were.
Just about everyone agrees about the need to take care of the roads during the holidays. The problems come when easy words like "care" need to translate into practices that are rather harder to deliver.
Like the practical patience of planning journeys with plenty of rest breaks.
Then, once on the road, the challenge so often becomes finding fortitude in the face of the exasperations that other people's bad driving may evoke, without letting it spark indulgent bursts of bad driving on our part.
Then there's the water.
It positively glistens with the promise of recreational pleasure. By all means answer the call. Just remember that in the midst of all the frolicking fun, it can still drown you, or your loved ones, just as dead as the darkest most storm-tossed Southern Ocean or North Atlantic storm.
Our bush and mountaintops are also powerful and legitimate attractions; less muddy and icy this time of year, but still hugely unforgiving on a slip or a fall.
So a little respect would appear to be in order.
- The Southland Times
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