T'was the Monday before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a gator.
Seems to be missing a bit of poetic rhyming there, don't ya think ? Accurate though. I've never seen a mouse here in sunny Buttonwood Bay but I've seen lots of gators. Not in the house, I need to add quickly. At least none I've seen. Who knows what critters come in ( and thankfully leave again ) in the wee small hours !
So this is Christmas week.
Back in the day, we used to say it was so many shopping days till Christmas but with the advent of everyday shopping and then t'interclacker, we might as well just revert to how many actual days are left till Christmas. Or the holidays. Oh hell, I'm not getting into THAT discussion again.
So it's 6 shopping/actual days till Christmas or 5 if you're in Australia or 7 if you live in a city with shops open on 25th. Fancy buying a few last minute gifts on the day itself ? Absolutely. Plenty of places are open after all.
Mind you, the gift may have to be a lukewarm pancake from IHOP or a bunch of slighly mouldy chocs from the gas station but hey, it's the thought that counts and what better thought is it than to have bought the present on Christmas Day itself ? Well ok a pretty crappy thought I guess. A last minute tthought. A 'oh crap he bought me a present so now I have to buy him one' thought.
We do the same with Christmas cards, don't we ? Yes we do and don't you pretend to be all high and mighty and tell me you don't do it. We dutifully send out our batch of cards trying to remember who died during the year and bless the savings. Of course we might've made new friends but are they close enough yet to warrant a card ? Oh dear it the wedding invitations fiasco all over again. Who do we risk upsetting ? Did Aunt Maud die or was that two years ago ? When are kids old enough to get their own cards ? Who gets the good individual cards with all the glitter and decent rhyme and who gets the 50 for $2.50 charity cards made from recycled paper and with the dubious unseasonal limerick ? It's very stressful.
And we can't sit back and relax even after the cards have gone out. Oh no. We have to hold some blank ones back for the late arrivals, don't we ? A few cards arrive in this week before Christmas and we fly into a card panic. Who the hell are Bill and Mavis ? Why don't these people use return address labels ? I don't know any Bill and Mavis. Wait, were they the smokers we tried to avoid on the ferry to Calais last summer ?
Well I donno where they live so sod 'em. He stank of ciggies and she stank of Eau de Kyle Minogue so yes, sod 'em.
It may come as a shock to learn, but I'm not a party animal. Never have been, never will be. I can't imagine the stress involved in holding or even going to several parties over Christmas. All that false bonhomie. People standing around talking about this or that and really all the men want to do is get upstairs with the host's au pair or drink all their plonk, eat all their food and go home pissed as a newt and stuffed as a pig. I've no idea what the women want to do but I'm sure it involves clothes, jewelry and discussing I'm A Strictly Come Dancing Celebrity On Ice, Get Me Out Of This Jungle....Idol.
I can't play the cross talking game either. You know, when there are so many people at a table or in a group that multiple conversations open up. I'm there frantically trying to work out which conversation I might find remotely interesting but end up not wanting to listen to any of them and wishing I was at home in my slippers watching reruns of Family Guy with a beef in ok sauce and a Pepsi Max. I'm easily pleased !
I know I'm not very sociable. Given the choice I'd nearly always want to be on my own. Which is just as well as that's mostly how it works out !
So Christmas is a bit of a 'challenge' for me really. But it's not a case of me being all bah humbug about it. It's just that I don't enjoy being in a crowd of people and as the numbers increase, so do my anxiety and discomfort levels. A few friends....ok. Maybe 5 or 6. Anymore and I know I'll be spending an evening listening. Maybe I'll answer a request for what I'd like to eat or drink but mostly, I'll be just listening. It's what I do.
Putting aside religious beliefs, they tell us Christmas is for kids....and families getting together. Partly through choice, I have neither. My bed and I'm sleeping in it.
It rarely makes me sad but I do admit that, thanks to tv ads mostly, I feel that I've missed out. I know I've missed out. I'll never be called dad, daddy or f*** off, you're not my REAL dad. I'll never know what it's like to have a small child run towards me without thinking it's entrapment. I'll never be able to have a teenager on my lap without entering the priesthood.
But that's the way my cookie has crumbled and there is always an up side. I know I'll be able to get an individual Christmas pudding from the local gas station on Sunday and if that doesn't fill me up, there is always the chance of a pancake.
When it comes to being thankful at Christmas, I'm sending my thanks to BP and IHOP.