The holidays: always a difficult time for me.
Everyone says that. The chorus of complaining started early this year. It started right after the election. It was time to fuck, someone said. We all needed to fuck and get all of this negative energy out of our systems.
I didn't want to fuck. I wanted to cry. I wanted to lock the door to my room and cover myself in blankets and read some books I'd been neglecting. I wanted to plan an escape. I imagined there was an escape hatch under my bed, and that if provoked I could simply 'check out' for a few days while I explored a beach in Bali, or a country road in late 19th-century France, or the abbey of a 17th century Spanish monastery. If only it was that easy.
Suddenly everything stopped seeming relevant. For the first days after the election, and in the remaining days in the month of November, all I remember subsisting on was air, news and Taco Bell burritos. I wrote letters for the first time in years to friends who I'd seen on Skype. I told them, "I love you. Things will be OK. Let's just try to have a nice holiday." Of course, no one I knew was having a nice holiday. I saw The Rules of the Game, a movie made in 1939 by a Frenchman named Jean Renoir (son of the painter, and it felt eerily similar to the year 2016, with all of its meaningless excess, its rancor, its din of terror and illusion. I spent most of the days in the dark. I slept until 11. I wasn't working. I wasn't making any money. I was simply worrying about the future.
Even in the grocery store, I imagined myself having my brain plucked out of my skull and devoured by the girl singing a really tinny, really unnecessary uptempo version of "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays". The girl on the recording couldn't sing; I imagined her being forced to sing by someone like Simon Cowell, someone with a finger on the trigger. You find versions of Christmas carols, or "holiday songs" being foisted en masse to shoppers everywhere, and you don't know why, you just walk the aisles and pretend not to listen to them. I think someone told me that they were all these rather forgettable acts you'd find on Soundcloud, people like Carly Rae Jepsen and Rebecca Black singing about jingle bells and puppies and a man from Tennessee.
There are some people who look forward to the holidays with delight; they spend all year saving up for ornaments and presents and gorgeous things to light up their homes and delight visitors.
I can't say I am one of them.
I think about how much I want them to be done so that I don't have to deal with the agony of a mental breakdown every 24th of December, a cold and empty house devoid of Christmas decorations, a neighborhood full of paranoid white people who buy bottles of apple cider flavored whiskey and talk about what they'll do for tax return season. Being a devout Roman Catholic, I long for traditional Christmases, Christmases of Baroque gold, diamonds, quinces dusted with sugar and great plum pies; I long for Christmas with a fire, and presents, and no TV, certainly nothing about politics.
I won't be getting the pair of Uggs I wanted so badly this year. Oh well! Maybe next year, when the world ends.
#ellowrites #happyholidays #merrychristmas