Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas solo

Merry Christmas. Not feeling it, not seeing it at all, but all the signs are there. It's Christmas. Sometimes I wish it would all go away, but that would be pretty harsh.

I guess I'm supposed to have some definite plans, but the only one I can see is I'll be spending a lot of time with my dog and my guitars. The family is all split up, and typical in divorced families, the mother gets most of the time with the kids. I get quality time, though sometimes I wish it were more quantity.

Friends are all over the place.

I've spent two Christmases alone, and it's not as bad as you might think. It's like camping alone: The anticipation of loneliness is greater than it really is. The first time was my first year in Boston. I was working for an ad agency, and I was low man on the totem pole, so of course I had to work Christmas Eve. My at-the-time fiancee was in New Jersey, and I was in a bug-ridden apartment in Allston. Christmas Eve night my downstairs neighbor knocked on my door. He was an odd sort. Incense fumes came out from under this door. Weird music. He was into some kind of Eastern religion. He was poor, and was doing things like making his own furniture to make ends meet. What I didn't realize then is and what I know now is he's not much different than so many vagrant, sort of intellectual drifters that were pretty common in the city at that time.

He asked me to jump his car. It was snowing like a bat out of hell, and we couldn't get his car going. So I offered to take him wherever he was going. What the hell, I didn't have anything else to do. It turns out he was going over to see his little girl, who lived with his ex-wife. We drove over to somewhere, I don't remember at all where. The streets were deathly silent, not only because everyone was in their beds for a long winter's nap with images of sugar plums in their head, but also the storm and snow muffled all sound. We were like the last people on earth.

The house was filled with people and warmth, and it was the sweetest thing in the world to see, so touching. Trust me, now I know and feel a father's love when he's away from his little girl on Christmas Eve. And I remember he gave her an Asian dress or robe--something like that. And the weird thing was this family had me to contend with and really weren't sure what to do with me. They were touched that this total stranger would go out on such a bad night on Christmas Eve, but had no idea what to do with me. Just me in my usual role of odd duck.

The only other time I spent Christmas alone was a few years ago.

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