holiday post-mortem

Did it feel like the holiday season came
crashing on top of you like a tinsel-covered wave? Have you emerged
gasping yet, back into real life, or are you still floating face-down
in the surf where it is so peaceful and serene in the dark as you bob
along? I am bracing myself to break the surface and suck in some fresh,
un-nog-scented air, to blink and look around and up at the sky and down
at my three page to-do list and and start remembering how this
responsibility thing works. At some point in the past week or so, I
said okay, holiday! Take me away! and I plumb forgot to do anything but
sit around in lounge pants and pet dogs and not think about things that
were not happy or alcoholic (sometimes both!) at all in the least. It
was a really good holiday.

We stayed here in Utah, where E’s
family all is. E’s family knows how to do the holiday. There is a lot
of food, and a lot of drinks, and a lot of giggling–if you do not
leave a family party with your face hurting, then probably you spent
the entire time locked in the bathroom with some kind of stomach flu
and that is very sad. Everywhere there is a flurry of wrapping paper
and shiny things and everyone’s racing around, hiding bags and yelling
at you if you open the wrong cupboard and asking each other in
whispers, in front of the person you’re whispering about, what you got
for them. It’s all secrets and lies and deceptions and tackling to keep
you from ruining the surprise.

E spent a week lying to me about
my present–he wanted to build me a computer. I said oh my god, yes
okay thank you! But it was very sad because he couldn’t find a case the
right size that fit the fans, and he wasn’t sure what to do and he was
sorry about how my Christmas would be ruined but he’d get me a
surprise, instead. Okay! I said. Whatever, baby. You’re all I want for
Christmas, snugglewumpkins! And then we all sickened and died.

was an enormous amount of running around and door-slamming and me being
physically pushed from rooms while I protested and phone calls in which
it was demanded that I swear I didn’t see anything. Long sighs and
wistful looks–I’m sorry your holiday is ruined, honey. I said, You can
just get me a pony made of diamonds! And he did! But I couldn’t have it
yet, because it had died and he had to fill it up with pudding. He was
having a lot of trouble getting a hold of the pudding, he said.

the night before, which would be Christmas Eve, when we returned from
the family party (at which I triumphantly recalled almost all the words
to “The 12 Days of Christmas”), he covered my eyes and yanked me into the
room and thrust me forward and said “Surprise!” and it was not a
pudding-taxidermied pony at all. It was my desktop computer, painted a
beautiful shade of pink. Covered in unicorns and skulls and curlicues,
my nickname. The screensaver was pictures of ponies and diamonds, and the desktop was a pony and the browser was Firefox
and the homepage was Gmail and Twitter and it was the most ridiculously
thoughtful thing you’ve ever seen in your life, and I burst into tears
as if Obama had just been elected in a landslide or something.

Are those happy tears? he said, as I clung to him and sobbed. Yes! I wailed. I’m so haaaaaaaappy, I bawled.

When you’ve got a shiny pink computer and shiny computer games loaded on, you think of very little else. If you are me, anyway.

the past week we’ve eaten up all our Christmas candy and played all our
Christmas games and laid on the couch in between candy and games and
dozed and watched television and then went back to playing and it has
been the best kind of vacation from life that you could ask for,
really. But life is still up there and even though it has significantly
less sugar and fewer achievement experience opportunities, it is
required that I return to it. Here I come, reluctantly and a little
bloated, picking tinsel out of my hair.

How was your holiday? You look very fetching in tinsel.

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