For The People Who Dread The Holidays
A story about love, sort of.
[Listen to an audio version of this blog here. There is a point to this, I promise.]
I don’t know anything about anything, and that’s sort of a cool feeling, once I’ve gotten over the desperation of it all. I made French toast the other morning with sourdough bread that just happened to be infiltrated with rosemary, which I didn’t realize until I shoved a soggy glob of egg bread into my mouth. The fact that the egg bread was soggy was insulting enough, but the faint taste of rosemary made me crinkle my nose like a child who expects ice cream but takes a big bite of butter instead. It’s both interesting and funny that a pile of butter looks so much like a pile of ice cream but tastes so different.
One of my friends told me that I can make even the smallest encounter or event into a story, which seemed not so very much like a compliment until I thought about it as one. That’s another funny thing about life: how you interpret the world, and language, and other people, is everything. Have you ever met someone who isn’t insulted by anything? You could literally tell them that they smell like foul trash and that they’re incompetent and a bad driver and selfish and a baboon and they’d find a way to smile and sincerely say, “thank you.”
I had a dream the other night that I was hooked on some sort of powdery drug (aren’t drugs mostly all powdery though?) and my father came to destroy my supply, which made me feel both good and bad. My stash was gone, which made me feel bad, but at least he cared. The fascinating point about my dream, though, was that I didn’t know what kind of drug it was. It was just sitting on my magical dream counter in a big plastic eyedropper thing that was about the size of those plastic candy canes that are filled with M&M’s or Skittles or Hersey Kisses. I didn’t tell anyone about my dream, because nobody generally cares about anyone else’s dream, but you just read about it so the joke is quite honestly on you.
The other night, I came home from a run and there was a man fixing somebody’s car in the driveway of my apartment complex. I know it wasn’t his car, because he doesn’t live where I live, but I figured he was a local handyman or maybe someone’s uncle, so I just smiled and said, “HAI.” A minute later, he knocked on my door asking to borrow a screwdriver, which I lent him. A few minutes later, I walked outside with my cat in my arms to see if I might be of any assistance, “No I’m just about done here,” he said as he screwed one thing into another thing. This was good, because I wouldn’t have been much of a help with said cat in my arms. “Actually, can you hold this light?” he said. And hold that light I did, cat and all.
The local handyman/uncle was missing some teeth. He offered to change my oil, which I’d just paid Valvoline to do. The Valvoline man had called me, “hun” and showed me how to pop my hood, which made me feel very young and also very naïve. But anyway, the handyman/uncle gave me back my screwdriver and left. Less than 20 minutes later, my neighbor called me to inform me that someone had left a giant Hersey kiss outside my door; one of those Hersey kisses that’s the size of a large rat or a toddler’s head or small wheel of cheese. It was from the handy uncle man. I went outside and looked at my neighbor, “I don’t want it,” I said. Neither did he. Who on this wild green planet wants a giant block of low quality milk chocolate? It is my sincerest conjecture that only in America could a giant Hersey Kiss earnestly exist.
It is now December, and December is a month forever tainted by gaudy lights and consumerism and tinsel and evergreen scented candles. I once met a man who made fun of my evergreen scented candle for being cheap, which made me want to rub his nose in it. The point, I wanted to tell him, was not in the quality of the wax but in the deep green hue and tree-ish scent. He was the type of man who was hyper sensitive about his hairline and drove a Mercedes he couldn’t afford, but who would also cry into my hair after a “bad day” at work. He needed a lot of validation, and it was extremely exhausting. I never bought him a Christmas present, but if I’d had the giant Hersey Kiss at the time, I would have re-gifted it to him.
The holidays can be a sad and strange time for people who maybe aren’t all that joyful or who maybe don’t like eggnog, or who maybe disdain the scent of gingerbread or who maybe have coal where their hearts ought to be. The holidays might be hard for you, is all I’m saying. And I’m just here to tell you that eggnog is gross anyway, and Aunt Kathy will never not be a miserable bitch, and if you love even one person with all your heart you have more than enough joy to buoy you through the season.
P.S. Watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas, find your next best Christmas cookie recipe here, or read about how to be lonely on Christmas here.
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