Friday, December 21, 2012


Oh for an age so sheltered from annoy
That I may never know how change the moons,
Or hear the voice of busy common sense!

I roundly dislike being busy, which I always am this time of year: it's the giving season, and every day brings a new surge of gifts to the Foundation. I am grateful for the gifts, which, to disregard more important things, keep me in a job I love, and in company with people I love and admire intensely. But my attitude toward holidays has always been grumpy. They interrupt my routines. They're trying, for an extreme introvert: everyone gets in my face and demands my attention.

I watch, with amusement, my mind constructing stories to justify and make moral the fact that I simply dislike the holidays. For days some semi-independent bit of my brain has been at work trying to construct a narrative about holidays being invented to distract working class people from the fact that their masters never have to work, that they never have to get up at a particular time of day, and that they wander off to Jamaica or the south of France whenever they damn well feel like it. If we weren't abject servants – says my mind – we wouldn't need holidays. We could make any day worth living.

This, of course, is arrant nonsense. People love holidays, the filthy rich as much as anyone. They love to get together and jabber repetitive inanities at each other, and trade formulaic expressions of approval, and jostle for status, whether on their way to Mecca or to the mistletoe. They love picking a day at random out of the calendar and investing it with huge significance. It's Christmas! They insist. And when I grumble, it's only Christmas! because you say it is, nobody has the faintest idea when that Nazarene carpenter's son was born, I know I've gone too far. You can only try the patience of extroverts so far: they are not thoughtful folk. You have to play along.

So. Merry Christmas! May you have all the merriment you can take on board, and get it out of your damn systems, so I can get back to the life I love. Which has parking spaces at Fred Meyer even in the early evening, and gifts rolling into the Foundation at a nicely manageable pace, and cafes that open for breakfast at the same time every day. My life is such a rewarding one that holidays are a disagreeable interruption: may God bless you, every one, with a life so good! Then maybe we could dispense with all this.


Kathleen said...

What an agreeable bunch of disagreeableness. You are a fine grump.

One year my kids gave me, for Christmas, a t-shirt with Grumpy on it, and the caption, "I'm Grumpy."

Um, I guess I was, that year. Every year, I'm an introvert. (But I do love Christmas.)

Zhoen said...

A time to be busy, a time to be still.
A time to isolate, a time to gather.
A time to grump, a time to rejoice.

jarrett said...

Cafes that open at the same time each day ... We grumpy introverts really are insufferable, aren't we, with our demands that nothing change except the change we're working on? Not only do I rail against varying business hours but am beginning to become irritated with the cycle of seasons ... Why can't the sun just be there at the same time every day, like my favorite cafe? ...

Dale said...

Oh, shush! We're just getting some traction convincing the world that we're sensitive and mature (as opposed to over-entitled and pissy)!

marly youmans said...

Most amusing! I must say that I was glad when I had sung the last note from our Messiah concert (just parts) because I had a powerful fear of messing up...

I love Christmas--not the commercial one but the real one, and for that the date does not matter, I think. It's all jumbled anyway. Easter is inside Christmas like a matreshka baby in its mother.

And I love Christmas trees, all decked and dazzly. I think that comes from an intense love of my Adrienne Segur fairy tale book when I was a child, and it has wonderful Christmas trees for "The Nutcracker."