good christmas morning, world.
I’m so happy I can’t sleep– so totally relieved to be off work until january 5– I’ve been desperately craving some good big swathes of uninterrupted time to just do whatever, mull, write, play at the art table, address christmas cards.
I woke up cold from a flock of dreams that immediately took wing and went and grabbed another quilt and lay waking for a few minutes just watching the steam from the heating unit of the building across the way float white across the dark sky.
last night chris and I opened a bottle of wine and agreed that we couldn’t wait for christmas morning, so opened our presents before dinner– my gifts to him were haphazard and necessary– sneakers, slippers, socks, coffee cup– last-minute dispensable items to fill the space beneath the tree– because we’ve so danced around the issue of gifts with one another– while I’ve run around in my free moments to fetch and pack and ship gifts to family hither and yon, even little somethings for work colleagues, I ended up by and large neglecting to figure out anything special and surprising for my favorite person. I’m going to chalk this one up to my harried and aggravated state of mind lately and coach myself to move on, since he’s clearly not sprung about it– but it’s there. in contrast, my most excellent and handsome feller went out and got me an ipod touch, which I’ve slavered over for a year, since they gave one out at last year’s work christmas party raffle. wheeeee! a most excellent toy! it’s making me feel like a very lucky girl indeed.
yesterday I was thinking about the modern mythologies of this season– vividly remembering one specific night, lying in the radiant glow of street lamps through the window curtains, wide awake and determined to remain so long enough to witness santa’s arrival– I remember this, how determined I felt– in retrospect I tend to think I was half-believing, half-skeptical, dead-set on settling the question once and for all. I have no specific memory of learning about the vast conspiracy of fabrication on the other side of this credulity– unless it was neighbors laurie and mary ann smith finding all their hidden christmas presents ahead of time and being punished with disillusionment and spoiled surprises alone. I remember annie hoey and I bearing witness to their collective hubris of cleverness in discovering the stash and the subsequent shared shame and regret.
I recall a pervasive sense of being a fifth wheel in that society, a tolerated rather than treasured and coveted participant in the play, as annie was. we actively vied for her best friend status. to this day I have trouble with groups of girls– always have, have always felt not quite jibing with the whole groove. more and more it strikes me that in many ways we never grow up. yesterday a 60 year old woman was complaining to me about how “mean girls” had ruined her day by not including her in lunch plans. in the midst of this weird and ongoing social limbo I’m experiencing in chicago, I’ve had occasion to ponder these phenomena. I miss my own dear girlfriends, the ones I imagine actually enjoy and value my company– but, if I’m honest with myself, I’ll own up to the fact that I’m only considering the little moments, islands of sync and grace in a more general ocean of discord, resentment, miscommunication, and petty strifes. lately I’m thinking that all my preoccupation with community is as much about difficulty getting along peaceably with girlfriends as it is about forging some idealized family structure.
and I know I probably have too much time or energy on my hands to be preoccupied by such thoughts.
chris has installed The Clapper on the christmas tree– surely a device devised by a man if ever one was– who else would consider loud, percussive handclaps to be preferable to getting up and flipping a switch? only a guy enchanted with the fact that he could do it. and, for all that, it’s still pretty cute. guys are really kind of awesome.