12.24.2004

NO Christmas for YOU!!

I was supposed to be at the airport right now for my flight to Ft. Lauderdale. This makes me sad. I'm disappointed in myself for failing again. I wanted to get away from this pit I live in. Relax somewhere with clean air in a comfy house with other people. So I woke up this morning very upset that I'd have to skip Christmas because my grades weren't done and I didn't have time to finish and turned them in. When I called my family, they changed my mind. Mom convinced me I could go because my flight left Florida the 29th and not the 30th as I had thought. Great! I had some brunch at the diner then got packed. I was excited. When ready to go, I pulled up the email with the flight info. But, oh what is this? My flight doesn't leave Florida until the 30th? Huh. Well didn't that just suck?

My mother is angry that I stayed home. It's all my fault of course. I just need to grow up because I should have planned ahead. Right. She said in the email she she sent after I hung up on her that I should have found out about the school being closed on the 24th before yesterday "but that's water over the dam". If the water is so over the dam why was she too mad to talk to me on the phone? My sister is sad because she's going to be bored without me. My father is actually sympathetic that I'm missing his big Christmas Eve fiesta.

I'm still packed. I guess I'll be unpacking tonight instead of eating homemade goodies with the fam in 70 degree weather. Here's what I am missing:

The beach. Exquisite food made by my mother, or her homemade fudge and toffee. The long breakfast after we open presents and the warm-fuzzies at giving people things they like. Real Christmas tree smell. Spending the day lying out in the backyard to read a novel and get a tan. My mother's kitchen full of food. Laughing with the sibs. Watching cable TV. Watching movies on a TV that's more than 10 inches. I won't get to do any driving either! I LOVE driving the Miami freeways. No palm trees with Christmas lights on them, or tacky plastic manger scenes and Maria shrines, no balmy nights of looking up at the stars and listening to the croaking frogs, no break from bohemian housemates with their incense and loud sex and curry-stank cooking....

Here's what I do not mind missing:

The tri-lingual Christmas eve festival at Pops' house with his Brazilian wife's family. Half of them speak Spanish because they emigrated to Panama, the other speak Portuguese. My step bro and sis speak English because they grew up here, but Portugese is the house language. They usually smoke a blunt before the party and are quite boring anyway so it's no loss. The girl wears something slinky on her perfect body and always has her boyfriend around. Everyone mingles in the house waiting until midnight, not speaking English. At some point they watch the Vatican mass by satellite. Then when it hits 12 am we have a toast and a prayer from Pops' wife's mother in Portuguese that is too long and dramatic, then a Spanish one from the cousins, and lastly the English one from my father. Then we all have to hug and kiss and cheer. After that the dinner buffet begins with lots of beans and rice and meats. The food rarely tastes good. The Flan isn't bad.

Once everyone has eaten their fill, all 20 people sit around the tree and the Walmart singing and dancing Santa from Hell whom I find scarier than Chucky. We have to sit on each other's laps or the floor because there aren't enough chairs, and watch as one by one everyone opens their two presents. I always attempt to feign pleasure at the Swapmeet gift from the wife, but I suspect I'm not good at it. My bro, sis and I always try to leave after the presents before Pops busts out the Karaoke on his big-screen TV. Sometimes we aren't so lucky...

That's what I would have been doing tonight instead of sitting alone in my bedroom with my cats and bluebooks, eating cheesepuffs and cold canned soup. Listening to Portishead on repeat might seem excessive, but it's perfect. I enjoy wallowing in this kind of miserable-ness. There is an art to it. When done right, it can be cathartic. If I'm wallowing, that means I'm not depressed. Depressed people don't have the energy to wallow. However, I did go out to do something special for myself. I went to the 99 cent store scross the street and bought christmas lights, candles, chocolate and 18 agw speaker wire. And some fixings to wrap presents that I haven't bought yet.

This is my first Christmas alone.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

awww-
this post seems really sad. It makes me want to send flowers and cookies and mom's pumpkin pie if it was actually something that could be mailed and reach its destination well.

The post also made me think- "which portishead album?" I think Dummy would make perfect sense as a repeating back drop- with the occasional sigh whenever sour times starts up again and Beth Gibsons voals start into the first chorus. Dummy also makes sense because, although I liked the self titled album, I can not see listening to it on repeat without being in some form of drug induced stupor.


Uhm, well- I hope your Christmas is as merry as it can be. If you are teaching again next semester I hope that your students aren't such little rat bastards, and I hope all else goes well for you.

-Mike 

Message from Mike

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are alone this Christmas. I hope you can make the best of it.

Good choice on Portishead. "Dummy" always reminds of the time I lived in Arizona and I was messed up on depression that I had to take a week off of work. And during the whole time "Dummy" was the soundtrack to my life.

"Wandering star.. to whom it is reserved.. the darkness, the blackness .. forever" 

Message from Varant

Anonymous said...

JL, for what little it's worth, I do hope you have a Merry Christmas. Spending it alone generally sucks, but as you are discovering, it does have charms of its own and certainly isn't the worst thing in the world. 

Message from Kevin Barney

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys.

I'm cool. I think it was the disappointment that was the worst. If I had planned on being here I wouldn't have been so sad about it.

The Portishead CD: Roseland NYC Live
They played with the New York Symphony. It's fabulous. Theramins galore. It's the only CD of theirs I have because I couldn't decide which one to get.

For Christmas morning I will be listening to the musical stylings of Hildegaard Von Bingen.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

There could be a parallel universe somewhere. I looked at a work schedule twice and didn't realize that Thursday was a day off, and if I had know that I would have tried to somehow un-cancel my travel plans. Instead I have to miss more work later this month to visit family. I felt so bad, I had to get that bad feeling out of me, so this is what I did: I have been visiting a couple of guys I home teach. They are in convalescent homes although they are only considered mentally disabled by the state. They are easy to talk to and maybe they're faking it to not have to work? One of them even has a girlfriend in a similar situation. I got the one guy a little TV with a DVD, and they both will receive from generous me some DVD's including Spiderman II, The Day After Tomorrow, Around the World in 80 Days, Anacondas, and Shrek2 etc. I got the other guy a TV last year. The guy who got the TV this year usually has family to visit on holidays but not this year.

There's always Paris in the spring.

Here are a couple of Portuguese phrases for you to consider: Deixa me sozinho (leave me alone), no me importa (i don't care), cero mal/bem (smells bad/good), a igreja e verdadeira ( the church is true), quero visitar Portugal (I want to visit Portugal), yo tengo gripe (i have a cold) etc. Com licenca (excuse me)


Happy Holidays.
 

Message from Anonymous

Anonymous said...

JL: Merry Christmas. It sounds like you have a great family! Are you from Florida? California? I would love to be in your house and hear all of that Spanish and Portuguese and eat all of that great food and chill with people from such fun cultures. I always feel at home with Spanish/Portuguese-speakers. Of course, it helps that I speak both languages.

Remember in all of your moaning about being single, celibate, alone at Christmas, etc. that life is good, real good. And its even better because we can share it (even if its online). God bless.
 

Message from Mark

Anonymous said...

What a lesson in self-pity. It's called time management and prioritizing. Buy a book and quit wallowing. 

Message from Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Anon- it is easy to criticise, especially if dont read this blog regularly. I guess you are the kind of person who would say my life is F***ed up cuz, I am a loser and gave myself brain cancer!!!!
Anyways, JL, dont let criticism of this type bother you. BTW, I too am alone in snowy, and bitterly cold An Arbor, so, I understand!!! 

Message from sss

Anonymous said...

Someday you'll have one heck of a story to tell your husband as you cuddle with him by the fire and express gratitude for having found him. Wow! That sounds sappy but it's more than likely going to happen. Just a thought. Merry Christmas! 

Message from Lowell

Anonymous said...

Anon,
I suppose that prioritizing would have enabled me to grade 80 philosophy exams at 5-15 minutes each starting at 7 pm on Wednesday night and finishing in enough time to add up all the grades for my 120 students, bubble in the paper-work, and call everyone I know in the department to see who was still in town and was willing to turn in my grades for me next week and then once I found someone, take the train for 45-60 minutes to drop the grades off with that person, and then get to the airport in time for a 7:25 pm flight. If I had to be there 2 hours earlier--that would mean getting there at 5:30 which means travelling during rushhour on the subway which could take up to two hours if I'm leaving from uptown, which means I'd have to have everything finished by 3:30 in the afternoon. Which obviously means no sleeping.

Please, anonymous, explain to me how that would have been possible. I had to give two exams consecutively and meet with students all day on Thursday so I was at school from 12-7 availble to students and proctoring but unable to grade. I started grading at 7 pm in my office, went home at 11 pm when I learned that the school was closed on the 24th so that even if I had stayed all night because it would take me 10 hours to grade it all, I still couldn't hand the shiz in.

If I had realized the school were closed I could have arranged ahead of time to leave my grades with someone so I could have stayed up all night grading dropped the crap in the mailbox, gone home to pack and then go straight to the airport. That was my fault. That's why my mother was angry.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sigh. Let's see if I understand this...ignore the school's calendar, which I assume has been posted all semester, and find out 2 days ahead of time that it is closed Xmas Eve.

And still, avoid any semblance of responsibility for your own actions.

Trust me, if you wanted to be in Florida, you would have found a way. People all over the nation did what they could to ensure they were home, if they so desired. Don't pretend you are in some way unique. 

Message from Anon

Anonymous said...

Anon the 2nd,
You sound rather perturbed, as if you take my posts personally. Are you perhaps university administration? I'm curious why my disgusting and irresponsible self-pity annoys you so.[I'm not being sarcastic, I am fully aware that I am an inept human being who bellyaches without cause. And make fun of myself for such in this post.] It has nothing to do with you.

If you had read my comments a little more closely you would have noticed that I wrote:

". . .I basically made the same mistake. If I had noticed the school was closed on the 24th I would have made arrangements ahead of time."

and in my reply to you I wrote:
"if I had realized the school were closed I could have arranged ahead of time to leave my grades with someone so I could have stayed up all night grading dropped the crap in the mailbox, gone home to pack and then gone straight to the airport. That was my fault."

I fail to see how I am avoiding any semblance of responsibility for my own actions.

Because I had NOT noticed the date I was in an impossible position. I admitted as much. I put myself in that position. I accept my failure to act reasonably. Given that, it is still ridiculous for the school to force us to give exams on the 23rd. I could have made the flight with Herculean efforts, no sleep, and the kindness of others, had I planned ahead.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Oh! Oh! I know how you could have made the task much easier for yourself, and thus doable: give a multiple choice final! 

Message from Ann

Anonymous said...

Ann,
Don't I wish!
200-level humanities classes are required to give a midterm and a final that are essay exams in addition to assigning a paper of x amount of words. I already cheated by making the paper optional.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Hey JL - please email me - you know who I am in Ann Arbor - computer crash led to the loss of all contact info. Thanks and Happy New Year 

Message from anon

Anonymous said...

R,
Were you using my personal email or the CC one? I don't remember. It's been awhile so I'll go see if I can dig you up a reply. Or, you can shoot me a blog email and I'll get back to you. Stay warm up there.  

Message from JL

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