Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Jeer

I am ready, oh so ever-lovin’ ready, for it to be January. I’m blaming the Saison Joyuex for all kinds of things right now. It seems as though I am encountering person after person after person who is just stressed out beyond all reason; and while I know intellectually that the holidays are not really the root cause of all the angst, hot holy carp on a stick, people!

It’s getting ugly out there.

In parking lots all over town, people are screaming at each other over spaces that are literally only a few car lengths apart.


Whoa. Uh, ma’am? Do you really want your preschooler to repeat what you just said?!?

In Old Navy today, there were three people in line ahead of me. Each and every one of them had a problem, from wanting to return clothes purchased months and months ago without a receipt to stubborn insistence that they had found the sweater on the rack marked 2 for $25 – never mind that everything else on that rack was a thin long-sleeved t-shirt, not a wool-blend sweater.

Each and every one of them behaved childishly, and that the kid behind the counter didn’t start smacking each and every one of them with a fish whacker is both a testament to his super-human patience, and proof positive that I am never, not ever, not under any circumstances in this world, fit to work retail.

Because me?

Fish whacker: It’s a good thing.

You want what? **WHACK!!** You’re calling me what? **WHACK!!** You wanna rephrase that, honey?!

Which is in and of itself, a symptom of the season. I’m usually pretty easy going. I’m easily able to allow someone else’s issues to be their own, and not go around borrowing them. Someone calling me stupid doesn’t make it so, someone shrieking that I’m a {beep} is really their own misfortune and I can just let them go off and reap what they have sown. I figure that their behavior creates it own punishment, and anything I might add is, well, superfluous. I can add no misery greater than a life spent angry and frustrated, peering over the fence at the skinnier, wealthier, happier, and otherwise in need of a good taking down people frolicking on the greener grass.

But this time of year, my sarcasm really steps up to the plate. As does my vocabulary. And I sometimes say things that are…most unfortunate. And unkind. And unworthy of my would-be enlightened, peaceful state.

It’s the holiday jeer, people. Coming soon, to a crowded place near you.

I suspect I have the same problem as everybody else. I have a kind of psychic overload going on, with too many things and thoughts and stuff and aw, crickets!...did I leave the tree lights on again?!

I have tried at least four times today to get ten crummy minutes of (relative) quiet, to meditate. I like to meditate. Just sit, in the quiet, without my knitting, to just be. To let things be what they are. To appreciate the life that I have. To enjoy the feeling of my lungs filling and emptying. To clear my mind. To flush out my bulls^^^ filter and decide, consciously and with great purpose, that I shall not go forth and kill anyone, today.

But oooooh no. This is the ho-ho-holiday season! Routines are disrupted. Even trying to grab a momentary peace is like trying to see your reflection in the surface of a pond during a hailstorm.

Work is calling. The kids are rustling. School schedules are whacky. People are coming and going around the Den to the point where I’m thinking of installing a revolving door. Can we drop Johnny and Susie off for two days? Can we stop on our way to Fresno? Can we stop again on our way back to Portland? Can we leave a kid with you while we go to Fresno? Did you remember a White Elephant gift? Honnnnneeeeeee, was this form supposed to go somewhere?!

Ay, carumba.

January can’t get here soon enough. Sadly, this season of giving, this time of drawing together to reaffirm familial and tribal bonds, right when the nights have gotten as long as they’re going to get and the hope of inevitable spring arises, hooray!, has become a season of stressing out those nearest to us to the breaking point.

We eat too much, work too much, fret too much, and otherwise create a Situation where we can’t manage to behave ourselves in private or public. We break down and become animals, pounding our chests and going ape-poop over even the smallest perceived threats to our status.

It’s silly. And yet, there it is. Sometimes, I think the best prayer I can offer up is, Please, $Deity, may we all make it through to January in one piece.

Bonus points if we can do it with class and charm, with love and laughter and light, loving ourselves and allowing it to just kind of spill out and over our fellow creatures. Just like anger and panic, love and laughter can pass like a virus from one person to another.

If we can just be big enough to allow ourselves to graciously, humbly, allow another person to be imperfect, not take it personally, be wealthy enough of spirit to give them what they think they need – the parking space or the place in line or the last box of Calming Chamomile Tea.

Ah yes. Those right there are major bonus points.

I’m going to try, I’m going to try with all my might, to rack up a few of those babies.

Although I’m pretty sure I’ll be weeks recovering from all the bite marks on my tongue…


Very Herodotus said...

Yesterday my husband actually said to me, "What do you mean we're not sending out Christmas cards this year?" I could have slugged him.

I'm trying to get a birthday party together for the most adorable two-year-old in the wide world. 30 people will be at my house on Saturday, expecting balloons, cake, streamers, the works. The house is a wreck. The tree is up but there are no ornaments on it. I have no food and no cake ordered. Also, I have only 13 hours of vacation time left for me this year. And, I have a cold.

So, no, I'm not doing Christmas cards this year.

RM Kahn said...

I did the retail thing in various forms for about 20 years. I did half that at a wondeful gift store in a mall.... by the time I retired from that type of retail with my retirement watch I would have traded the watch for a Fish Whacker! Gladly!