Thursday, December 25, 2008

Enough With the Holidays

OK, it's Christmas. I'm resurrecting an entry I started last Friday (the 19th) and abandoned because it was too down. When I was writing the paragraphs below Christmas was less than a week away.

So here we go. This is what I wrote last Friday. I'll quote it and then continue.

A lot of the writing prompts at Holidailies have been about, well, the Holidays. Understandable, I suppose given its seasonal nature.

Enough with the holidays, though. Christmas is less than a week away. Yes, next Thursday is Christmas. And then there is New Year's Eve. We don't have a plan yet for New Year's Eve. We may watch the downtown festivities from our tenth floor balcony.

Today's reflection, showing me still in sweats from a tennis game in the cold and holding a bundle (Texas pecans bought at the Farmer's market) makes me look like a homeless person. The reflection is in a design shop called Kirk (only one or more letters is reversed or something) and the white things are rubber trinkets on a tree. The peace symbol. Yeah. The guns and bombs? (I'm assuming, the bomb like thing could also be something else.) Those aren't so festive.

I'm not homeless. Far, far from it. It must be pretty horrible to face the holidays without necessities like a roof, let alone money for festivity. And here I sit, with two Action packers full of decoration (one entirely filled with bendable, posable figures of Santas and such) locked away in the storage cage. I'm not feeling it, I have to tell you.

Today I'm going to buy a few presents. Perhaps. I'm going to exercise, read the paper, get outside and walk. I have a pretty free day and I'm retired and we may survive the financial crisis. The old folks are snug at home. My dad had a great adventure with a friend who was visiting yesterday and may have to 'rest up.' FFP stocked his parents' pantry yesterday. All should be right with them for a day. I can spend the day however I like.

Why don't I feel more excited about it? What is dragging me down?

Well, it's nothing I can put my finger on so I'm going to just blast on through it and embrace the day. The fog is burning off outside and maybe it will burn off in my brain soon enough.
And here are some more paragraphs I ditched yesterday (and started a completely new entry):
It's Christmas Eve. It doesn't feel like it to me. I have a few presents piled on the desk in the living room, no other decorations. I've been taking FFP's picture in front of decorations at other places. Yesterday we went to the annual party at the Headliners Club. I posed him in front of one of their trees and in front of the tree in the lobby of the Chase building. I haven't co-oped any Christmas spirit, however.

A few things are bothering me. I could articulate them in this space, but I'd rather not. Because by the time I did then the things bothering me would morph, I think. It's those sorts of things.

We are going out tonight with friends and spending tomorrow with our parents. The friends are going to be festive, I think. Most of them. It's a large group. Our parents will not make me feel more festive. Entertaining them isn't too bad, but it makes me feel old. I have been telling people that when we get together with them the average age is 80. It's true, too. The total age among us is 400 exactly at this moment.

When people ask us what we are going to do for Christmas, I say we are taking our parents to Threadgill's for a meal. Some are shocked. Some think it's a great idea. I mention what a production it is to get them all in and out of cars and into the restaurant and get the food ordered. Often they say, "But you are so lucky to still have them."

Perhaps these people are missing their own parents. If they saw their parents suffer old age, time has softened that. I have one friend, fifteen years older than I am, whose mother is still alive. She is 106. She is in a nursing home. I think she is officially on hospice care. Perhaps has been for years. My friend is still in good health (plays tennis amazingly well) although she has some complaints. Occasionally the doctors think her mother is at the end of her life. Then she rallies. Perhaps, after all, living well isn't the best revenge. Perhaps living long is the best revenge. But you have to have some children (preferably daughters or daughters-in-law statistically) to exact the revenge from!
Yeah, so. I haven't been feeling the holidays. My old relatives filter it for me and, while they (or us as people would have it) are lucky to be doing as well as they are, life with them is covered with a constant layer of infirmity. Their minds are sharp, but they still repeat themselves. My dad can't quite deliver the punch lines of his many jokes like he once could. The things they are interested in and capable of doing are boring for us. This morning my dad informed me that his blood pressure took a drop and it took him a while before he was able to go to the curb for his paper. (He takes medicine to lower the blood pressure and sometimes it works too well.) He doesn't want to go on an outing today to lunch. He recently had a car accident and the insurance company has decided to total the car. He wants me to help with the paperwork. He also wants to buy another car. But he has already restricted his driving to day time and certain places. I think cabs and/or paying someone to drive him is more reasonable. I will be driving him more places, at least in the short term.

When people say how lucky we are to still have parents, I think of how I miss my mother sometimes and agree. But sometimes I think, "Well, you can take a turn doing their errands and explaining things in our modern world to them and worrying about their future. No problem. We'll spread the luck around." I think I know how people with children feel. How our own parents were feeling when we were young, needed help. But they had the hope that we would grow up. The only thing we can hope for is that we stay healthy enough to help them and that they stay reasonably happy and pain-free until the end.

Yeah, it's hard to be festive and that's why stuff like the above accumulates in my unpublished blog entries. But I must shower. Because I think that FFP's parents still want to go out to lunch. And I don't think we've gotten them out of the house since Thanksgiving. And I need to take my dad his presents. And see about the paperwork on his car wreck. And see whether his episode this morning is anything to worry about.

I'll leave it to you, dear readers, especially those who still have kids who are visited by Mr. Claus and those who have sincere religious feelings for the day, to feel festive.

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