Home for the Holidays

fruitcake.jpgSo, another Christmas comes and goes. This year’s holidays seemed extra anti-climactic, as school finished (for me, at least) on December 23rd. With school work sucking up the majority of my energy right up until Christmas Eve eve, there wasn’t a lot of time to whip myself into a festive froth.

On Tuesday, after submitting my marks, I went out and attempted to start my holiday shopping. Yes, start. With exhaustion high and mental focus non-existent, my feeble attempts to get swept up in the wild, consuming orgy that is the holidays was futile. I took the bus out to one of the bigger malls in the city, walked in, took in the screaming children, the wide-eyed hysteria, and the stench of unadulterated panic, and walked right back out.

This year, everyone is getting Happy New Year’s gifts, traditions be damned.

So: Christmas was a blur of food, relatives, and the sudden stillness that follows the crush of semester-end marking and assignments. It was also dominated by the “run into people I haven’t seen in ten years” game.

When your physical, mental, and emotional states are about as robust as an overcooked rice noodle, attempting to cope with the question, “What have you been up to for the past ten years?” is a recipe for conniptions and intestinal spasms at the best of times.

This kind of made me feel bad, as there were actually a few people in from out of town that I was genuinely happy to see, but couldn’t muster up the social energy to really do an adequate job entertaining (or acting human with, for that matter). This is the one thing about school that I really hate: the students inadvertently take up so much of your energy, it’s hard to have anything left over for yourself.

At the same time, there were a lot of people that I really could have gone another ten years without seeing again. To be honest, I moved away from Winnipeg to escape change my life / lifestyle, and running into some people from that period in my life fell more on the side of discombobulating, rather than joyous.

Call me an asshole, but small talk (or trying to bridge a ten-year-plus absence in 50 words or less) makes me want to take a lawnmower with large, rusted blades, and run it over myself repeatedly. That’s one of the things about Winnipeg that I find painful - because it’s not really that big, you end up having a large percentage of people in your life that you don’t know well enough to have a meaningful conversation with, but know well enough that not saying hello to them would be construed as rude.

Or, maybe I’m just being anti-social. I always did like Catcher in the Rye a bit too much, I suppose.

The one thing that makes every Christmas swell, however, is spending time with my family, and especially with my sweetie. We started dating on Christmas Eve (now six years!), so spending the holidays with her makes everything else fade into a coloured, Feliz Navidad fog. I guess that’s what the holidays should be about, anyway - loved ones, bad fruitcake, and psychedelic hallucinations.

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