10:25 a.m. - 2004-11-30
The Evil Empire not only has a terrifyingly creepy three-quarter size talking Santa, a plastic tree with multicolored lights and many shiny gold decorations, and enough red plastic ribbon to tie up every man, woman and child in the U.S., they have these signs. I mean, they always have one that tells you how many days till the next major holiday (and they include pretty much everything…Memorial Day, Father's Day, Labor Day, July 4th, Mother's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Arbor Day, Columbus Day, National Blow Your Neighbor's Goat Day…) But now, they have this big red sign telling you how many SATURDAYS until Christmas. Actually, that's sort of helpful. Tells me how many more Saturdays I can't go anywhere near any retail establishment. That would be four.
Unfortunately, Santa's Super Colon Blow is not limited to the Evil Empire. It has spread across the continent. There is a giant ugly Christmas tree with some seriously tacky decorations in the atrium of our building. The card shop downstairs has much red velvet and fake fur featured. The parking garage has a fake tree that looks like it's been through Christmastime in Hell. The office down the hall has started taping Christmas cards to their front windows. Everywhere I look, there's red and green and tinsel and stupid music.
I think I might dislike the holidays because people keep trying to ram them up my ass. I'm not a believer in Christianity or Judaism or Kwanzaa, but I am a believer in appreciating your friends and family. I love to buy presents for people. But I absolutely despise being told when to buy them. Crowds make me claustrophobic, at least the kind of crowds at the mall and/or any other retail establishment during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The crowds make it impossible for me to enjoy the shopping experience, and everyone on my list ends up getting Barnes & Noble gift cards because I get frustrated.
In addition to the whole "buy, buy, buy" mentality, Christmas causes people to suddenly become delusional and imagine that their completely fucked-up families are magically going to become all Norman-Rockwell-Beaver-Cleaver-Happy. Of course, when they're not, that causes the usual dysfunction to be amplified a thousandfold.
I will say, however, that holidays with Loopy's family have been rather entertaining the last few years. You see, my mommy is a little ball o' stress around the holidays. First of all, she's just spent a whole semester attempting to teach sixth graders how not to be annoying. Then, she's dealing with my disabled stepfather, who was a giant, gaping asshole before his illness. He can't drive, or do anything other than whine his ass off. I do feel sorry for him, but I would be more sorry if he had been a nice person before. Then, my various stepsiblings descend upon the house. Then, sometimes, we have gramma too. I love my gramma…but she and my mother in the same room provide the reason for the existence of Xanax.
Anyway, my sister-in-law and I, after one of my mom's unnecessary freakouts, decide to open the bottle o' wine. Seeing as how my mom cannot hold her liquor at all, a few glasses and she was a different person. Since this time, the three of us pretty much get a nice little Chardonnay Champagne buzz every Christmas.
But wait, there's more. See, when my brother and I were children, my mother never let us have any fun. Translation: she wouldn't buy us any of those toys that shoot things (little spinny disks, suction darts, small plastic balls), because we would "put someone's eye out." However, she started buying these things every year for stocking stuffers once we were adults. So picture grown-ups with a serious buzz shooting projectiles at one another (and everything else in the house). It's actually a lot of fun, even though it makes the cat go loopy.
However, putting a damper on all this hilarity and mayhem is the fact that the "blended family" thing means I have to buy presents for a bunch of people I barely know and don't really want to know. I mean, my mom didn't get remarried until I was a senior in high school, and two of the step-siblings were in college/real life by that time. It's not like I grew up with these folks. They're okay, and all, but buying presents for them is difficult. Plus, my broke ass doesn't want to be spending money on people I don't really care about and then not being able to get good presents for the people I do care about.
Plus, the stepsiblings are all WEIRD. They won't eat normal food, it's all some stupid all-natural, unprocessed hippie shit, and then they try to guilt trip the rest of us about the junk food. FUUUUUUCK a bunch of that. While I realize I have been attempting to get over my stress-eating problem, holidays don't freaking count. It's like your "Get out of Jail Free" card.
Then my mom cries about the Christmas ornaments, gets pissed at my brother when he makes his usual hasty exit, and starts getting into arguments with gramma. My stepfather and one stepbrother get into some pointless, pretentious philosophical discussion, and I wonder how long I have to hang out before I can sneak over to my brother's house to get baked.
So what does all this have to do with Christmas decorations, you ask? When they start decorating at Thanksgiving, I end up thinking about this shit for a whole month, and working up a nice head of dread. Add to that the unpleasant prospect of cavity searches in a crowded airport, lost luggage, late flights, sleeping on the freaking uncomfortable couch (which ALWAYS happens to me) and not having a car in which to make my getaway when things get tense…and is it any wonder I just want to skip Christmas?