Posts Tagged 'Holiday Cheer'

All I Want For Christmas

At what point did holiday shopping become such a selfish, bull-headed activity? Now I know all the parents want the new “Johnny Big Rocket” and “Suzie Pink Shoes” for their kids, but dammit people, I’ve just about had it with your stupidity.

And I’m trying, I really am; trying to spread some holiday cheer. I am polite to sales people, I let people into traffic lanes. In stores, if someone is trying to get through, I step aside and let them on their way. When old women are going down stairs and look like they just might fall, I walk behind them, ready to catch if their knees should fail them.

The point is I try to be aware of others while I’m out. I try to be cognizant and courteous. It takes very little effort, it turns out. Anyone can do it! And nothing makes me angrier than the blatant demonstration of complete disregard for others. Perhaps these are the very people who need my own efforts most, but what they also need is a lesson or two. It’s not the oblivious who anger me, it’s the willfully inconsiderate. To wit:

Yesterday I went to get gas at a station which has clearly marked ONE entrance and ONE exit. Everyone enters one way, gets their gas, exits on the other side. A simpler concept, there does not exist. But some people don’t want to wait in line and try to sneak in the exit lines. I was waiting for the car in front of me to leave, so I could move up and get gas. As the car in front of me was leaving, sure enough, another car tried to swoop in the Exit, effectively blocking the car in front of me from leaving and blocking me from reaching the gas-pump. But the car in front of me was half-way out, so the rule-breaker had to back up. But I knew his game, so I positioned myself as close to the man leaving as possible and once he had exited, the other man again tried to enter through the exit. I pressed on the gas and cut him off, yelling “No! Go around!” He looked at me like a 1st-grader caught picking his nose in class. He stopped and looked at me. I looked right at him, yelled again and motioned violently (though not vulgarly) for him to go around. He went around, I pumped my gas.

Today. Adam and I were out doing some last minute gift-shopping. At both the mall and Target, people were parked in such a way that they took up multiple spaces. Ordinarily, this would merely annoy me, but today, because of aforementioned reasons, it also provoked me. In both cases, I got out a pen and paper, wrote the offender a note expressing my distaste at their actions and imploring them to show some consideration for other people, and put it on their car. I do confess, at Target, the offense was so egregious that I resorted to some choice words. I believe I wrote, “Ahem… Way to be a complete asshole. You need to grow a brain, learn to park, and show a little consideration for other people, you piece of shit. Happy Holidays.”

Strong words, I know. I felt a little bad about that. We went a bit too far, I admit. On the other hand, how rude is it to park in multiple spaces when you know that hundred of people are out shopping, trying to get things done?

Adam and I envisioned scouring the city and leaving notes on all-such people. Perhaps we would come up with a form-letter-style note, print copies and start a revolution. In a few weeks we might happen upon a local news story reporting on the recent flood of vigilante angry-mother-ish notes littering cars all over Los Angeles. Interviews would be held with offenders asking how they felt receiving what essentially amounts to an grown-up spanking. Grown men with their heads down, apologizing meekly for their behavior. An angry older woman who scoffs at the note but comes off looking really bad in the story for persisting in her bad behavior. Although, you know, some people just refuse to learn. For repeat offenders, there is a hierarchy of punishment. 2nd offense: we break your wind shield. 3rd offense: expect a gas-tank full of sugar.

But that’s just parking. For those who try to cut in line at gas stations, the driver will be pulled from the car and given a wedgie. Cut across four lanes of traffic in rush hour with no signal? We take your keys and thrown them all the way to the other side of the highway. Good luck getting to them and back before someone jacks your stereo. And finally, if you’re one of those people who sees that a road lane is closed and refuse to merge until you’ve passed 20 other people, we tip your car over right then and there with you in it and you become the reason the lane is closed.

Such are my wildest dreams this Christmas. Because of course, to dream of people thinking of others during the most wonderful time of the year, that’s just unrealistic.

Christmas Music

I don’t like it. I don’t know why. No, I do know. Aside from the fact that at a given time I have a painful amount of music I haven’t listened to yet and want to, or feel I should, and aside from the fact that Christmas music consists of the same songs over and over and over, the biggest turnoff is a pretty simple one – I don’t care much for the singers. I don’t care for their voices. They are general and bland and overly-smaltzy. It does not help their cause that these schlock-tunes are played earlier and earlier every year. Were I President, or better, Dictator, Christmas music would be allowed from December 10th-December 31st. That is three full weeks, and a generous, gracious dictator I should be thought. 

I grew up in the late 80’s and 90’s. My time was divided equally between playing videogames, playing with my action figures (and watching their corresponding TV shows and/or movies), and playing basketball. Consider Christmas in the house with no cable. All major programming stations featured faceless mass choirs singing songs in low lighting. Super Mario wouldn’t be caught dead here, neither would Raphael, Robin Hood, or Dick Tracy (nor his trusted sidekick, Sam Catchem). Since then, that image has always been associated with Christmas music, and Christmas music has always been associated with the word “AVOID!!!

But I am a grownup now, and when you grow up, you must away childish things. A few years back my family went to a Christmas concert performed by a large swing band. It was delightful. It was energetic. “AVOID!!!” only came to mind 10 or 11 times the whole night, as opposed to a constant stream of it, shouted at fever-pitch in my mind’s ear. 

But even so, I own exactly ONE Christmas album – One More Drifter in the Snow, Aimee Mann’s Christmas CD. As it turns out, many of the songs are palatable, even enjoyable, when sung by the right person in the right way. And I began to ponder. What I wouldn’t give for a 2-disc, 25 song compendium of Christmas Glory performed by The Decemberists. Or Tom Waits and a single piano serenading me into the silent night. I would gobble up such products. Because they are musicians I trust.

Most Christmas music is boring because most musicians singing them don’t do anything with them. The emotional weight of the song is placed solely upon the shoulders of the lyrics or individual chords, instead of upon this particular musician’s singing of those lyrics and playing of those chords. They shirk their artistic responsibility to bring something to the music, to invest it with some part of themselves. In short, the Christmas music played on radio stations is lazy. And that is death for the active listener.


It Has Come to This

May 2017
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