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Modern manners

Holidays are about becoming enchanted by short-term habits. Noises don't annoy us, and even bus timetables seem fascinating. But then we return, and the spell is broken

We’re not going on holiday this summer, so I thought I’d remind myself what I’m missing. Nietzsche talks of the enchantment of short-term habits. When I think how excited I get mastering another place’s bus timetables, I know he’s right.

Some of the joy comes simply from being away from home. Because the landscape is different, your eyes wake up. Because the food tastes different, your palate is tickled into making new distinctions. Whether or not the language is familiar, your ears enjoy the challenge of a different sound world.

You can lose yourself in the music of foreign streets—car…

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