Happy holidays and sorry for the lack of blogging. Between cleaning and shopping and depression writing has been thin. There are several things about this time of year that make it my least favorite. The first would be my birthday.
My birthday, celebrated last week, has always been a time of angsts for me. When I was young, my friends and family would say that they got me one big present instead of two little ones. They would try to get out of buying me both a Christmas present and birthday present by trying to sell me a load of bull. I knew, kids know when you are feeding them crap. I knew what they spent on my brothers’ presents and saw what they got him for Christmas. I was getting short changed. Damn it, I was the oldest, I should be getting more, not less!
Then the actual birthday celebrations always seam to fizzle. Our family would go get a Christmas tree on my birthday and that would be part of the tradition. It never failed that there would be some argument about the size or cost or type of tree that killed the “festive” mood. Then there was the year that my father was going to pick me up after school and we were going to Shakey’s for pizza. It was pouring rain and cold so that was a great relief to me. I waited at the school and waited and waited. After about an hour I started walking in the cold rain. My dad finally found me and I crawled into his car. He was soaked too. He had a flat tire and had to change it in the rain. We got back to the house, cold, wet and miserable, only to find my mother emptying the contents of the refrigerator into coolers and moving them downstairs to the garage. The refrigerator had died and the garage was the coldest place to store food until a new one could be delivered.
When we entered the house and shut the door, the vibration caused the top shelf in the living room to fall on to each of the shelves below leaving a huge mess. My brother (who had stayed home sick that day, my birthday, while I had to go to school) dealt with that while my parents handled the kitchen. After all of that had been dealt with and we started to relax, and got ready for pizza, we realized that the dog was missing. We though that maybe she walked out the garage while the doors were open. My dad and I got in the car to drive around looking for her. My mom found her deep under the stairs with a new litter of puppies. Only one made it. We named him Jinx.
As I got older things did not get much better. In 1980, I spent my birthday being poke and prodded at the National Institute of Health with what I later learned was my sero-conversion of HIV. Other years my birthday usually fell during finals week and such. In the past few years’ things have gotten better though, although the last two years they were spent in the ER with friends. Even if the day itself is pleasant, to me it is the official beginning of the Christmas push.
The Christmas push is the window where presents need to be mailed and final gifts need to be secured. I always worry that I am not going to make the impact I want with a gift. Something special that is remembered. I know I create a lot of the stress myself but I don’t know how to not worry.
Then there is Christmas day itself. When I was younger and then in my “religion” stage it held a magical time. Now it’s just another day. I was talking with a friend last night about Christmas. He is going to spend it at a casino with an ex-girlfriend from 25-30 years ago, his sister-in-law and her sister. Scott, much like myself, enjoys solitude. For some reason however we are both putting together “family groups” that would not normally be people we want to spend time with, because of some deep seeded need to find a community or place to belong.
Ed is working on Christmas day although we will have Christmas Eve together. He said that on Christmas day, the ER fills with lonely people from the nursing homes who want company and the suicide attempts of the more mobile members of the lonely community. Why on Christmas do we feel this need to be around friends and family more so than other times? Is there something deep in our soul or have we been so brainwashed by media, movies and Kodak advertising to feel that we are lees than normal if we cannot recreate a Norman Rockwell print. I don’t know. Maybe we always have hat need and the seasonal displays make it harder to mask. Sound good to me.