Whereas everyone else gets all excited about the holidays (WAR ON CHRISTMAS!), shopping, parties and family get-togethers, I prefer to withdraw into my protective little cocoon, hiding from the commercially insane soccer mothers with screaming kids who overtake the highways and malls, nesting on my couch with a Tivo full of trash and some Peanut Butter Toast Crunch (from the makers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch!). I think a lot of this comes from my Christmas experiences from childhood and the not-so-distant past. Por ejemplo…
• The year our blended family had eight kids in one house and I sat watching as everyone opened gift after extravagant gift, while I sat empty-handed until all the presents had been passed out – my mother then looked at me, noticed I didn’t get ANYTHING, then realized she had left all my gifts boxed up on the basement and had forgotten to bring them up with the rest. Whoops.
• The year I begged and begged and begged for an Atari 2600 – it didn’t have to be new! – and Santa got me a used one found at a garage sale. Immediately after opening it, I was told by my step-father that my dream gift would be used as leverage – if I didn’t obey, into the closet it would go. A very classy thing to tell a child just as he opened his dream gift. To my credit, I pushed it away and told him to take it back if that’s the only reason he bought it. This sufficiently freaked both my parents out and the Atari was never used as a punishment tool. Score one for defiance.
• The year (and this was less than 10 years ago, mind you) my father gave me a keychain with the Ford logo as my gift. Now, before you tell me it’s the thought that counts and “hey, isn’t your dad poor?”, this was the year he had treated himself to a vintage ‘70s Corvette in mint condition and his shrew of a second wife to a new car. I think my sisters got cookie jars from Big Lots.
A digression: I try to overcompensate for my lack of interest in the holidays (WAR ON CHRISTMAS!) by overdoing it in the gift department. If you know me and I like you (or am at least related to you), you’re gonna make out come December. I suppose I figure my presents will make up for my disinterested and uncommunicative nature from about Nov. 26-Jan. 2 each year. So I go nuts. And I figure, for the first time in my life I can afford to do so, so why not? But when I get a fucking KEYCHAIN in return, I sometimes wonder why I bother. Back to our sad list:
• The year I actually had a serious boyfriend around the holidays (WAR ON CHRISTMAS!), bought him a then new to the market DVD player, various DVDs, including some scorching porn, shoes, shirts, various little gifts. He gave me a Mr. Clean doll (har, har, I’m bald), a shirt or two and this was the kicker – he bought a pair of Diesel shoes, knowing my one faggy weakness is for Diesel shoes – wrapped them, then decided HE liked them, CHANGED THE TAG, gave them to himself as a gift AND HAD THE NERVE TO OPEN IT IN FRONT ME. “From Jose to Jose!” You can’t make this shit up, folks.
Yes, I dumped him 3 weeks later.
• The year I flew home to Cleveland, got the worst case of the flu in my life, spent seven days straight on my sister’s couch in a fever dream, interrupted only for fits of vomiting (where I lost a contact lens in the toilet), only to recover the day before I had to fly back to Cali. That was my vacation that year. I swear I thought I had seroconverted, until I realized you have to have sex first.
So, here we are on January 2, 2006. The holidays (WAR ON CHRISTMAS) are over, things are back to normal and I’m coming out of hiding. Here’s to a Merry Christmas in 2006.
Just don’t look for me to be there.