Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Messy Realities

Olga and I met our pal the window-washer on our walk this morning. He told me he'd just come across a guy slumped in front of a nearby shop, wearing no jacket, in the early morning darkness. He bent to shake him awake when another guy approached, said he knew the first guy (whose name is Chester) and would take care of him. So the window-washer departed on his rounds.

Sure enough, I came across Chester and his friend a few moments later -- Chester still slumped but moving, the friend calling out and insistently knocking on someone's nearby door. The friend eyed me (and Olga) but did not speak to us. I think they were drunk or otherwise impaired. It made me think the window-washer was somewhat brave to shake Chester and try to wake him. I think if I'd found him slumped on the sidewalk, I'd have left him there -- though I'd have called the equivalent of 911 if I'd believed he was in distress. Maybe not entirely a reaction in the Christmas spirit, but you have to be careful about these things, especially at 5:30 a.m. on a dark street.

Anyway, that was kind of a story that went nowhere, except to show you that my Grinch heart is two sizes too small. Sorry about that.

My Christmas angst has diminished. I got some things done yesterday and now I feel at least better prepared. Families are so complicated -- the stereotype is that couples get married and have kids, but instead often pre-existing families are brought together by a single relationship (a la "The Brady Bunch"), which leads to sudden gift-giving requirements on a wider scale. Know what I mean?

Today Dave and I have a faculty/staff holiday party at work. The good news is: the library closes early! Woo hoo!

(Photo: Trash collection, Notting Hill.)


  1. I'm still completely overwhelmed by the holiday. It's...not good.

  2. I chose to not celebrate christmas long ago. I'm not christian for one thing though I was raised as such. but mainly I don't do christmas because I rebel against the (oxymoronic) obligatory gift giving and the angst that goes along with that...don't really like that person, can't find the 'perfect' gift, the going into debt or spending money you can't really afford, the 2 months of commercials, the promoting of the 'happiest' time of year, the tendency of people to say when tragedy strikes that is it worse because it happened at this time of year...I could go on but I think you get the message. I do give my grandkids a gift and sometimes my kids when I have the money and I can think of something that they want or would like but I don't buy something just because I'm supposed to give them a present.

  3. Yes, I would use caution too in waking a sleeping impaired person, especially at that hour of the morning. You never know. I don't think you have a Grinch heart. :)

    It's too bad that our country (US) seems to gauge how prosperous we are (as a country) by how much people spend on Christmas. It's ridiculous.

  4. The stereotype exists because not only do you have to deal with the blending of families, which any mariage would create, but throw in rugrats and now as a parent you have the pressure of trying to create memorable holiday experiences for your kids to boot. It adds another layer, undeniably. As brothers we've looked back on things mom and dad did for us and on our own holiday experiences and now I feel like I have to create those moments for the girls. Olga just wants to lick her own ass and chase a squirrel.

  5. Your brother is right - kids add complications. It just reaffirms my decision not to have any :)

    But I still have gift anxiety. I'm not terribly good at it, but I still feel a need to try. I keep thinking that this will be the year I tell my brother & his wife not to bother with gifts for us - but our time spent exchanging presents is sometimes the most rewarding time we spend as a family. We don't see each other often enough - it's just nice to sit around & surprise each other :)