Friday, December 29, 2006


My annual Post-Christmas Depression has set in, but with a slightly different feel this year. Usually it occurs because the holiday has failed to live up to my always-unrealistic expectations. This year, however, Christmas was merrier and brighter than it’s been in many years. Almost everything went well. The Video Party was a big success, my shopping for gifts went smoothly (and more importantly, was appreciated), there were some really special times spent with really special people. My trek back to PA was remarkably free of any anxiety or agitation (not one fight with the nuke!). I got to see some friends I haven’t seen in a long time (although the ones I missed were sorely missed). The ever-declining Fulton Bar was replaced with the far more enjoyable Quips Pub and there was a too-brief encounter with the Winger Wine Cellar. We got some great new stories that will be told for years (“I’m 69 but I feel 18 because I got Jesus in me~!”). My cousin Gretchen’s absence was palpable, but it was great to have Gary there. I got to see, hear and smell the 1800 starting up for the first time in decades. The fireplace raged despite the too-warm weather. The kind woman at the CVS gave me $20 off the memory card I suddenly needed on the 25th. I received a gift of the heirloom Christmas glasses! The rest of my pile of swag entices me to ignore work and just read, watch and listen for days and days. In fact, the entire holiday, the only real drag was the fact that Global Warming makes it seem as if the concept of a White Christmas is really going to be an anachronism found only in old recordings.

So why so glum?

Because this year I could FEEL the impending inevitability of time. A number of losses among extended family and friends this past year (yet another of which I just found out about while writing this entry!) hammered this home. And as I’ve said before, with no families of our own, my brother and I cling to our (countless) beloved holiday traditions tenaciously. But the day will come when they are going to be forced to change, and Christmas will never be the same. That’s the natural order of things, but I honestly don’t know if we’ll be able to deal with it. When friends of mine talk about NOT going home for the holidays or make comments about how it’s not a big deal in their family (or, worst of all, express outright cynicism towards Xmas), I’m frankly dumbfounded. I can’t imagine NOT having the enormous celebration of family and friendship (Jesus ain’t always the reason for the season) that we have every December.

I tend to be pretty self-absorbed (says the guy writing a blog, presuming people give a crap about his thoughts and tales). I can be petty and whiny and materialistic and impatient. But amidst that, I think I do have a sense of perspective. Over the past several years, the main thing I’ve learned is to not take what I do have for granted. Which made this Christmas both wonderful and heartbreaking.

And now comes the Hell that is New Year’s. Stay tuned.

No comments: