Saturday, December 14, 2013

'Tis the Season to Be Grouchy

Rittenhouse Square under snow, circa 2006.


 I’ve been trying in vain to get in the spirit of the season by watching American Horror Story: Asylum, 28 Days Later, and Teeth, but to no avail.
Literary scrooges are portrayed as outward curmudgeons only. Their harsh exterior conceals a softer persona underneath the layers of bitterness. As for me, I think my inner and outer selves are both hardened. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a grouchy night!
Like many people this time of year, I alternate between loving and hating this season of cheer. On the one hand, the stark branches outside are festooned with lights; gingerbread is plentiful; and I love egg nog. On the other hand, I am feeling the pressure to spend a lot of money, an impulse I annually give into. Coming up with original gift ideas to buy for friends and family is no mean feat. After you have kids, this problem is merely compounded; not only is one obligated to purchase presents for the children, but also their caregivers and teachers. I am eternally grateful for their taking my rug rats off my hands to take charge of them in a careful, loving manner, but I could do without the stress of having to shop.

It’s not out of stinginess, but laziness. It’s cold outside, after all. Thank goodness for the Internet: With a few simple keystrokes, I can visit Amazon to buy anything (except, perhaps, an actual Amazonian warrior) for everyone. But eventually I reach my limit—on my credit card, that is, and I’ve now exceeded it with my seasonal generosity. Although I love spending more time with my immediate and extended family, the latter of whom I only get to see once or twice a year, I really just want to be alone. Don’t we all? Would I be content to seclude myself in a cabin tucked away in the dark woods with my faithful hounds Donut and Thelma (RIP) at my side, drinking red wine, curled up in front of a wood-burning fireplace reading back issues of The New Yorker and the Sunday edition of The New York Times? Yes. Yes, I would. 
Sunbathing in January. 

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