Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holidays Are No Vacation

Remember when we were kids... when we'd get time off from school to run around like maniacs and eat like pigs? When we were kids, we thought holidays were one big vacation. Oh, to be that stupid... I mean delusional... I mean naive--yeah, that's it, naive... to be that naive again.

I'm grown now, and I can tell you with all certainty that holidays are NO vacation! They are a lot of damn-hard-work and long hours. As an adult, holidays are primarily hell with some good food and a bit of booze mixed in so you don't go postal.

Everything changes around this time of year. First you see it while you're driving. People are rude and distracted. Cell phone use goes up, and speedometers go down. They pull out in front of you with a millisecond to spare before they completely broadside you, and then they look at you as if you are the crazy-dumbass-that-shouldn't-be-driving-cause-you're-such-a-fucking-hazard-that-they-should-call-a-cop-report-your-plate-and-demand-that-your-license-be-revoked one. C'mon, don't tell me you haven't gotten one of those looks--or given one and thought that about someone else on the road during the holidays... maybe even several times on the way to the grocery store.

When you finally finish navigating the obstacle-course-of-road-hazard-other-drivers to get to the store, you have to park... somewhere that is hopefully in the same zip code...maybe. Once inside, you get to do death-match battle for the main course as well as every other single thing that goes with it. Even if you're gonna serve hamburgers, you'll have to think fast and move faster in order to get the ingredients during the two weeks before the actual holiday. I'm convinced that the stores only put out minimal amounts of holiday-dinner items at a time, so that the managers can re-position the security cameras. This way, while the employees are on break they can watch the brass-knuckle-beat-down over the last box of Stove Top and take bets on who is going to win. Then the looser has to go and re-stock the shelf with 5 boxes for the next round. It's how the stores boost morale for their workers this time of year...

Once you've loaded up the car with way-too-much-food,
that was way too expensive... cause you did the shopping last year and knew to bring your mace with you to the A&P... you get to navigate your way through the insanity all the way back home. The entire time swearing inside your head that if you have to stop-short one more time, you're gonna get nailed in the back of the head by the sweet potatoes and eggs. Thanksgiving day, someone in the family will repeat this process about 4 times as things that were forgotten, but crucial, have to be picked up---One-at-a-time--- at the only open store in three counties.

When you get home and have managed to get all of your groceries put away-ish, you start with the clean-up and decoration. Your main cleaning motivation being that cousins you haven't seen since St Swithen's Day are coming, and that one bitch cousin never liked you, so she's gonna be tossing out those backhanded compliments like plastic necklaces at Mardi Gras. Hell be damned if she's gonna be able to say anything about the state of your home! So you start. You vacuum cobwebs from the ceiling and dust from the heater vents. You vacuum every surface of every single piece of furniture and scrap of carpet you own. You then go back and polish and swiffer-dust and fluff pillows and scrub the floors and every nook and cranny of porcelain. You even clean out the book case that is three shelves of junk-drawer in the family room. You do it all, so it only needs a tidy-up Thanksgiving morning. Even though this is total crap, and the clean-up will most likely only last until 5 minutes after the husband and or kids come home.

The cooking starts on the latest. Pies, cookies, certain side dishes will all be made in advance so you can "have some time with guests enjoying the day". You know you're living a pipe dream with that one, right? No matter what you do, short of going to a restaurant, you will spend 98% of the day in the kitchen, with the remaining 2% split between the table and the bathroom. Don't be too upset about it, it's way easier to get sloshed on the extra bottles of wine if you don't have to refill your glass in front of others.

Clean up will be chaotic as you try to figure out how to fit all the leftovers in the fridge, even after sending some home with everyone--except for that one bitch cousin who, over the course of the day, despite the 98% of your time in the kitchen, you have come to detest more than ever. In fact you fantasize about going off on, or beating the shit out of her while you work on the Mt. Everest of dishes... it makes it go faster.

And you need it to go faster so that you can kick everyone out by 7pm in order to get to bed by 7:30 so you can get to all those "Black Friday" sales... the ones with insane low prices that start at the equally insane hour of 5am. Which means that you need to be out your door no later than 4am if you want to be one of the first 100 people waiting in line. Good thing you didn't use up all your mace at the A&P... I guarantee you'll need a whole lot of portable-medieval-torture-devices in order to get out of the stores before noon with nothing more than bruises from being trampled, smashed into, and flat-out-punched-out for that duvet cover. And you're smoking crack if you think the pants you want will be out on the rack in your size. It ain't gonna happen.

Yes, this is the kick off for the Christmas season... even though there have been fake trees, wreaths and tinsel in every store in America since the day after Halloween--or earlier. It's the same hellish-hustle-and-bustle as Thanksgiving ...times 20. Tempers grow as bank accounts shrink and by the 900th time of hearing "Holly Jolly Christmas" you want to rip Burl Ives' liver out through his nose and feed it to Rudolph while mommy turns into a cheating whore and makes out with Santa...

Ahhhh... I love the holidays... Don'tcha see the huge smile on my face?

*shhhh...yeah, the smile is from the wine... pass me the new bottle, one isn't gonna be enough...

No comments: