November 30, 2008
The weather. Not me. I’m not gloomy, although I am vastly irritated by my cat forcing me from the comfort of my very cozy bed to let him out at 8.30 in the morning. 8.30 you say? Why, that’s not early at all! It is when you spent most of the night sleeping with your eyes open, conscious of everything around you.
I’ve promised myself that I’m going to take a day away from the laptop today. I’ve spent the last three days on it, editing stories, building Egypt and generally waiting for signs of life that I can attach myself to and suck dry. Being anti-social on an extreme level means that I need some form of replenishment. And I think maybe some of you will be glad to hear that although I remain ‘mad’, I’m now comfortably, if not cautiously, hooked up with bits of the world around me. Face it (just like I have), this is as good as it gets.
So considering that I’m not going to be plastered to this tiny machine for the day, I thought I’d deliver a short, angry (and very paranoid) burst about my favourite of subjects: Christmas. For this, I shall be focusing my attention on one specific aspect: the Christmas tree…
First off. I hate it being called Xmas. Partly, I think it’s lazy to substitute six letters for one, although I can see the strange logic in the removal of its religious connotations, but then society (and Coca Cola) did that for us a long time ago.
The roots of my disgust nestle themselves in the fact that the Alphabet and I don’t really get along. As a lover of language (an admirer, a secret affair all tied up in the cotton sheets of creative scrutiny) this causes a bit of a problem. The fact is, the Alphabet lies. The letter ‘H’ shouldn’t even be in there. Serious thought has drawn me to this, in that the letter ‘H’ is mostly silent…
Then there’s the matter of O,P,Q, R, S and T. These letters are in the wrong order. ‘Q’ should be before ‘O’. Why? Aesthetics. ‘R’ should not be subordinate to ‘T’ with ‘S’ holding each apart. In fact, ‘S’ should be before ‘Q’ for the reasons of auditory fluency. Thus I propose the order of these letters should be:
‘X’ is ultimately another letter that causes me problems. Have you noticed how the letters right at the end appear out-of-place? Simple, the letter ‘X’ doesn’t look right at all. I feel like I should be bending the points together to make it vanish. Which is what it does really… it causes sound to vanish into the guise of another letter: Z.
I don’t think I should say anymore about my relationship with the alphabet or we’ll all be here for a remarkable amount of time.
With ‘Xmas’ (shudder) just around the corner, it’s time for me to engage myself in the activity of putting up the Xmas tree (my stomach actually spasms every time I write that now…) which should be a barrel of laughs because this will be the first time I’ve ever done it. I don’t want to mention who always used to spend hours erecting it as it could end up leaving the comments option open to gentle hands on my shoulder.
Anyway. I’m excited.
Note: Maybe, possibly construct a post explaining the workings of this mind to help brush away any questions that may arise from the oddity of what has already occurred and is about to occur in this post.
I’m not excited like a kid would be, but I’m bubbling over with a perverse sense of fetish. Building and decorating something like this is a mental exercise. As is number crunching and balancing the household’s budget (which I do every fortnight) despite the fact that mathematically, I could be the end of the known universe.
Gawking at library catalogues, familiarizing myself with the decimal systems, searching bibliographies, establishing texts and creating foot/end notes. Spending nine hours building a virtual Egyptian city and refusing to give up for the day until I’ve built the Grand Pyramid requiring 169,000 blocks of limestone and 350,000 blocks of sandstone (numbers are estimates). Ordering my books on my book shelves in relevance of theme, topic, size, subject area, current interest and relevance to my studies. These are all fine examples of menial, long-winded tasks that I do to keep my selves busy.
Having idle minds not only produces boredom tenfold due to the plurality, but also welcomes moments of Mischief that happen to pop out of nowhere when my back is turned. As mental exercises, their repetitive nature strengthens the being of so many minds, gives them purpose, keeps them alert and generally distracts them from constant misery born of our predicament.
Building the tree is going to be extremely cathartic but not without its hiccups. I hate tack and I’ll be damned if my tree will look like tack. I’ll be asked if I want any help. No I want to do this by myself because I’m neurotic and I don’t need any help don’t look at me like that just because I’m twitching I’m perfectly fine just leave me alone to complete this, please.
And where to put it? In front of the large window I guess (at least people won’t be able to see in as much) but then there are logistics in the placement of a tree. Being at least six feet tall, it’s hard to expect the thing to resemble a size zero model once you get to the base. This means that it is going to cause some obstruction and I refuse to squash it against the window.
I refuse to use the same lights that have been used for aeon’s by my parents. Half of the sodding twinkles won’t work, the spare bulbs will be duff and the ONE bulb that is truly done for in the entire line of stupid little lights is ALWAYS the fuse bulb. And I am not going to Homebase at this point in the year to buy a pack of over priced fuse bulbs when I need that five quid to buy milk and bread with this week.
So, lights. I have some new ones in the wardrobe, intended for a completely different occasion, but they work and will blend with the tree. White wires on a green tree do not please me. The other thing about lights is that they make me paranoid.
Tree lights can cause fires. Whether they be faulty or come into contact with materials that combust easily, it doesn’t matter. Apparently, and I’ve sourced this from December 2006 as stated by Fire Minister of the time, Angela Smith, people are 50% more likely to die in a fire over the Xmas period than they are at any other time of the year. Doesn’t that fill you with reassurance?
Fire safety tells us to check the fuses, replace blown bulbs, don’t leave the lights on when you go to bed or go out… I won’t even leave the power light of my TV on, and not because I’m being eco-friendly.
The damn tree can also fall over. This is more so in my case because I live on a boat. Land dwellers tend not to wobble out in bad weather. Considering the position of my home, when the winds come in, they come in, bringing with them, waves. I plan to rig the tree up somehow to prevent toppling.
Asides from these natural worries, I’m still excited about doing it. I’m slightly dampened by the prospect of being picky as I rake through dozens of decorations that won’t fit the theme I’ll invent on the spot and again, I’m not going to Homebase.
Depending on what is available, the tree will probably end up a hash job, along with the family arrangements, the food, my attempts at wrapping gifts (you can never tell what I’ve got you due to the lumps and then there’s the issue of getting the thing open due to the amount of cellotape I’ve used). The long, endless melancholy of wanting the dreary, plastic season to be over with and then wishing it had stayed over for a bit longer when the next optimistically rubbish year farts its way in at midnight, December 31st.
Feeling depressed yet? Welcome to my world. It’s not all bad though, despite the economic downturn. Now that I think about it, this is what Xmas is about really. Trying to do the best with what you haven’t got with those you have got.
Don’t get me started on Santa. I may post the opinion piece I wrote for my Journalism module a couple of years ago later on…