December 24th, 2003


Crabby Christmas Eve

I am at work today. I can't remember the last time I've worked on a Christmas Eve: usually it is one of the few paid holidays our Company gives us. They give us 9 holidays each year. Which days vary by when the holidays fall. This year, the Company in its Infinite Wisdom decided that it would be nicer to have Christmas and the day-after-Christmas off (thursday/friday), so we could have a long weekend. This seemed sensible and okay to me, until this morning when I found myself driving to work on Christmas Eve.

Christmas has come way too fast for me as it is, without working on its Eve. Plus, I am flying to NYC on Christmas day (tomorrow?!), so in fact I'm supposed to go to my mom's tonight and have Christmas dinner. Yikes, that means I have to wrap gifts tonight and pack and all that good stuff.

My stone goose is still in her Thanksgiving outfit. That's how behind I am...I haven't even given my poor goose her santa hat! I haven't decorated or even cleaned my house. I am reconciled with not having a tree this year. The idea of getting and decorating one just sounded like too much work and not worth the effort. Christmas decorations make me happy, yes, but expending the energy to dig things out of the basement and put them up alone would not make me happy. So why do it?

On the other hand, I sent out a bunch of holiday cards this year, for the first time in years. I'm really glad I succeeded in that. I also have some nice gifts to give to people I love. I don't have a lot of Christmas energy or passion this year, but I'm trying to focus it in the places that matter, not the irrelevant ones.

So anyway, I was sitting here at work, and the guy behind me was listening to Christmas music, and the guy next to me was listening to techno. I could hear both, much too clearly. I hate hearing other people's music. Plus, what an awful combination. I sat there getting crabbier and crabbier, until I remembered I don't have to listen to their crap. I put my headphones on, and then remembered I have a new mix CD to listen to! So I'm listening to my new CD, and I'm now happier.

(Even if the office is cold, and I'm huddled under an old hoodie, like always. I'm tired of the cold! Why do I spend my holidays freezing in Michigan and New York, instead of going warmer places like most people? (Or rather: why doesn't my family live somewhere warmer?))

They are making us work today, but at least they are closing the office at 3pm. At least it will be a shorter-than-usual day. Good thing, since I seem to have tons to do when I get out of here! How could it be Christmas already?

Silent Night

I had trouble falling asleep last night. I remember I looked at the alarm clock when I gave up attempting to sleep and crawled out of the bed. It showed a time of 5 hours earlier than the time it was going to go off. I sighed tiredly as I fumbled for my eyeglasses and a bathrobe.

I wandered into the livingroom, looking for something to distract me. I pulled open the curtains to see if there were any stars out. There weren't, but it was pretty outside. I curled into a tight ball in a chair in the dark room, wrapped a blanket around myself, and gazed out the window for awhile.

The bush directly outside the window was dark green with fractal shards of bright frost on it. The street was wet, and Christmas lights glittered in the puddles. The sky was cloudy-pale-gray, and it didn't look nearly dark enough to be the middle of the night.

As I tucked my feet under the blanket, I saw the scene change slightly. It took me a moment to realize why: in the house directly across the street from me, a light had gone on in a back room.

It was the house with all the Christmas lights on it. I wondered why somebody had just turned on a light at that hour, then I thought that maybe she had just realized that she'd accidentally left her Christmas lights on.

I had been enjoying the lights, so I was a bit sad to think they may be turned off. But they weren't. The window-light stayed on also. It was a window that faced perpendicular to me, so I couldn't see in.

I made up a story for the window-light. She was a woman who couldn't sleep, a secret across-the-street soulmate, and she had gotten out of bed see if there were any stars out. But why turn the light on? Perhaps she had stubbed her toe on the bedframe on her way to the window. Perhaps when she saw that there were no stars, she turned on the light so she could bandage her toe.

I pictured her perched on a windowseat, her right foot pulled up in front of her with its heel on the edge of the seat so she could reach to put the bandaid on. I pictured her smoothing its edges and pausing with her chin resting on her knee, gazing around her room as though seeing it for the first time. I pictured her glancing out the window again at the pale sky, shivering a bit as she touched the cold glass.

A few minutes later, the light in the window went out again, and I was alone with the night. I hoped that my secret across-the-street soulmate was finally able to sleep soundly, and her toe was not bothering her too much.

A few minutes later, I went back to bed myself. It was not too much longer before I finally fell asleep.