It’s 10:00 pm. We are finally home! A day of driving, stocking up, buying another boat, dropping it at the mechanics and getting ourselves out of the madding crowd and over the seas has taken the whole day. Left the city at 8:00 a.m. and sat down, finally, at 10 p.m. “Hey, Sal, it’s late. Maybe time we turned in? Sal? Sal?”
She was asleep. It was a tough week.
We both love our families. We have very good family. Both of us. Lovely. Nice. Good. But this Xmas thing is getting out of hand. I calculated that I drove an average of three hours a day for every day of festivities. Definition of ‘festivities’? Sitting bloated on a couch in a room too hot catching up on the lives of cousins and partners whose names I can’t remember.
I was also full with turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings the whole bloody time. I was outside walking around only for the time it took to walk from the last house to the car. I actually enjoyed none of it.
And not one minute of it was spent in any way related to Christ’s birthday. Or anything else to do with religion, for that matter. And we all tended to gluttony even tho everyone was ‘holding back’. It is just that the activity-of-the-day is eating. “If they cook it and you come, then you have to eat it!” (WP KInsella – from an early unpublished novel: Field of Food) . And there is no question that we seemed to worship at false idols (Apple Ipods and smartphones for starters). A lot of people focus on them at all times. Not good.
Well, we were nice to each other.
It wasn’t all bad. I did enjoy the people. And we honoured our parents, like the bible says. There may have been a bit of coveting going on but I didn’t see it. There was no stealing, that is for sure. Murder? Maybe a random thought or two. Nothing out of the ordinary. Well, one brother-in-law is a bit too poised for Armageddon in my opinion but, other than that, no homicides are being planned.
And I confess that the first martini on the first night after a long day of driving is a real treat. And the food over the next seven days is incomparable (volume and gastronomy). But, what is also true is that it soon becomes too much. Way too much. Analogy : like taking a thirsty man out of the blazing desert and waterboarding him, ya know? I mean; that first bit of water is great! But, like, couldn’t we spread the water (love and the turkey) out a bit?
I’ve been saying this ‘humbuggy’ thing now for a few years. But I haven’t done much to fix it. Don’t know how. How do you tell people you love that you are not going to ‘bother‘ to visit them at Xmas? Doesn’t sound very nice, really. Does it?
But, when I tentatively brought the subject up, just about everyone felt much the same way. The Xmas thing isn’t working for anyone. We need to change it. What we need here is real leadership!
And, anyway, the women seem to run Xmas. Mostly. I drive a lot and eat a lot but that is largely my only contribution. Well, I buy the tools if they are planned to be in the gift inventory. And booze. I buy booze. Merry Xmas! I am just not in a position to take the lead on this. It has to be a woman. “So, Sal……………maybe we should, you know, convert to Islam or maybe Judaism so that we can get all ‘uppity’ about Xmas and then not have to ‘do it’? Waddya think?”
“I think you have been saying this for years. And I am not wearing a hijab or burka! And just because you are circumcised does not mean you are half Jewish! So just suck it up!”
“Hey! Was it good for you?”
“No! It goes on too long and it is just a lot of work, really. We are still talking about Xmas, right?”
“Look…..we could just leave in November and come back in January. Or, if we can’t afford that, we could just say we did. Who’s gonna come up here and check? We could send a Xmas e-mail ostensibly from Guatemala or China, even. We’ve been there. We could fake it. No one has to know.”
“Hmmm………..November to January, eh? We could say we are volunteering at an orphanage or something, eh? I mean, who would lie like that? Who could be so mean-spirited? So awful to family and orphans? At Xmas, fer God’s sake!!?? You are horrible, you know that? Despicable! But, I must admit………….it just might work…………”