>Ew, Christmas

December 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

>I arrived back upstate last night after having the money drained out of my pockets in the city. While I was away, the pipes in my cottage froze and one of them burst. Apparently, I have to use all of my savings not just to live in the city but also to live through winter in the country.

A nice plumber finally showed up today to repair the damage. We talked for a long time about literature, insulation, and our life stories. He was very generous and sympathetic.

After he left, I read more of Moby-Dick and Alice Munro’s new book. Then I fell into a trance/nap/coma with my cat. Before I could recover, Riva was knocking on my cottage door. She hauled me out of the house to “enjoy” another local tradition.

Every “holiday” season, the town gathers for caroling, free hot cider, something related to stockings, and Santa’s big entrance. Having just woken up, I wasn’t totally prepared for the immensity of this event. I ran into my students and Riva’s high school friends. It was hard to plaster on my “social” game face after a day of dealing with my disdain for costly winters, landlords, Christmas, Christians, and country life in general.

Tomorrow I will continue my favorite Christmas tradition of watching movies and trying to avoid having to fake holiday joy.

Until then, I will lose myself in my imagined life as a whaler: “…but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him…. And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!”

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