The cast and crew of The Real Life: Pflugerville is doing fairly well. It wouldn't be as exciting without the daily, some times hourly drama we all endure whether it be jobs, family, friends, relationships, children, money, health or ghosts. In fact, if you feel you're in a rut and need something new, I'll have the house mates at the Four Pines carve a spot out for you and you can come hang for a while. I guaranty that inside of a week, you'll have either found peace, the bottom of a few bottles or the inside of a padded cell...or if you're lucky, all three. (That's what we call Tuesday.)
I read back to the beginning of the year to see what I was worried about back then. It's hard to say what kind of year it's been by doing such a retrospective. On the one hand, if your concerns seem trifling it was probably a hard year and you may be surprised you survived at all. On the other hand, it could have seemed like a walk in the park and you may look back fondly as the year you made it, or the year you righted the ship. 2008 was a roller coaster of a year. I always seem to be saying I'm glad the year is over, but in truth it's just an arbitrary number of days and what has happened in the last few months will carry over into 2009. Strife, happiness and reconstruction don't care about seasons or the calendar. The best this time of year can offer is a respite and a chance to take a deep breath before putting your head back under water. That's why we force the cheer and gifts and food and songs, it's like a panicked realization that school's going to start again, that your vacation is short lived, that the pause life seems to take is about to disappear.
That's of course a secular point of view. Even as a non-practicing Catholic I can appreciate the humanity surrounding the end of the year, the desire to start clean, the push through till Spring, the ensconcing oneself in the love of family. Americans may have turned the ancient Pagan holiday into a commercial racket couched in the love for the birth of the messiah du jour, but Yuletide blessings aside, we can all appreciate the changing of the leaves, the start of spring and the warming of our faces and hands. Depending on what you believe, spring came and went and the winters were harsh for 6000x as many years as the central Christian figure has been part of Christmas. The candle oil may have lasted eight days, but humanity has been trying to keep fires lit for much longer. The cycle of light and dark is ingrained on our minds at a genetic level.
So when you see someone who says, "Merry Christmas" or at the most benign, "Happy Holidays," please try to remember that they are just people reaching out into the cold winds and ice of winter wanted to share the cold in order to warm it. Challenging their beliefs isn't going to make your presents any richer, your hot chocolate any warmer or your family any less the drunk idiots. And no one is wishing you a random-holiday-greeting because they want you on their team next Sunday or think you've been overlooked for greatness, they're just hoping you as a human being are safe, happy and want for not.
I'm on about two hours sleep as I write this. That's another experience you should try, get no sleep and then write. I ended up erasing paragraphs about football and planetary exploration and Hollywood's shortcomings. What's here is the most lucid bits I could save. If this is any indication on how 2009 will play out...
...I can't fucking wait.
Happy Holidays, Y'all!
at 11:18 AM