But in this age of Blackberrys and iPhones - literally strapped to our ears, it's practically impossible to remain out of contact. Whether with family or friends, or even with inescapable work.
Something I learnt much to my chagrin this holiday.
You know why bosses get the big corner office and the overinflated paycheck? Obviously being in charge is pretty much a 24/7 job that doesn't excuse the rare jaunt in foreign climes. Never realized the shocking number of urgent calls I fielded in the office till I'm actually out holidaying.
And I don't even get the bigger paycheck.
Unfortunately that doesn't mean I'm less inundated with urgent requests. These few days only made me realize that I actually get dozens of messages and phone calls from the various departments at work. In spite of the fact that I repeatedly mentioned to the operator that it was international call roaming.
Never knew I was that indispensable. Isn't it weird that such things crop up when we're not at work? From urgent transfers to momentous meetings, they all seem to crawl out of the woodwork to haunt the minute you leave.
Stop calling! Can't you tell I'm busy?
There I was desperately hurrying from red-shirted rebels running rampaging down the streets of Bangkok - and my cellphone starts ringing incessantly.
Of course I was perfectly polite each time they called - despite the fact I felt like pitching my cell into the nearest klong. Had to bite my tongue hard before I gave in to the frightful urge to respond in an unseemly manner.
Colleague : They need the approval from you to transfer...
Paul : Didn't I appoint you to oversee such matters before I left? I recall a document signed.
Colleague : But I still need you to...
Paul : Fucking handle it!
Colleague : Yes, I can do it but...
Paul : I have rebels coming around the corner with sticks and stones! Deal!
Didn't deliver that smackdown of course. Despite my informal hurly-burly manner, we have to maintain at least some semblance of decorum. I was the very spirit of professional courtesy.
Seriously. Stop calling.