Holly Jolly Christmas
Back in October, when the decorations suddenly appeared in the local Eckerd, my brain refused to recognize the speaker from marketing and continued shopping for Halloween candy. All through November I continued treating the onslaught like I would the cover of the Post or The Daily News, occassionally interesting in its outrageousness, sometimes worth picking up and glancing through because there was nothing better to do, but, in general, the days carried on a-coming, one at a time and the Christmas Spirit smoked a few more filterless cigarettes before knocking on my door.
A few years ago I was asked to do Christmas cards for God's Love We Deliver, a New York charity dedicated to bringing food to home-bound AIDS and cancer patients. In order to have them printed and ready for the Christmas catalogue I had to create the drawings and have them approved in June. Audiogalaxy was still the Robin Hood of music distribution back then, so I downloaded a bunch of Christmas songs, burned them on to a disc and wandered the city listening to Christmas music and doodling. I always wondered what my neighbors thought, overhearing the Christmas cheer emanating through my walls as they made their plans for the 4th of July weekend.
That Spring was a fun Christmas; the only decorations were the ones I was making and I had total control of the music.
Oh, to have total control of the Christmas music . . .
This year I waited until a more traditional December, cruised the music blogs (Robin Hood is dead, Long live the Robbing Hoods), created a playlist of about 250 songs, picked my favorite thirty, loaded my new Ipod (thanks again for the Ipod, Max) and sat down at the Fall Cafe to draw my Christmas card.
"That's one sad-looking bird," Tina said when she looked at it, still rubbing her nose from the memory of the drainage tube which had only been removed three days earlier.
There's a lot of struggle, heartache, disappointment, unfulfilled expectations and ache on the figurative streets outside my bedroom window. Poor Shannon had to climb out of the subway and walk yesterday when someone put their bags down and took the plunge; she missed the dive, but she was there on the platform asking those who didn't what the delay was and whose bags are these anyway? "Christmas can make people sad, Michael," she said as we looked to see if Cash Cab was on.
On the other hand, Chris and Raina have a great tree and helping to decorate it started the official season for me. Chris knows how to celebrate an occassion right, knows how a tree should look and is happy to sit and stare at it when the job is done. And down my block, the inflatable Santa, the shirt-hanger reindeer and the colored-light brownstones have GOT CHRISTMAS as Nisi says.
On the otherother hand, if I field one more call about someone leaving someone in another scenario where there are no bad-guys, my empathy meter's gonna puddle at my feet; division to the left, division to the right, into the valley of "we're-better-off-this-way-really" we ride--I want to break my arms by wrapping them around you and holding on for the ride. That's not even taking into account the West-Coast scenario where right and wrong seems pretty clear to me, but offers no solace whatsoever to the Leavee's-Gonna-Break Girl looking at a holiday season of Christmas carols with the Thai-Family-Judgement-Singers. Climb in here, friend; my arms aren't broken yet. Nor does it include that wing of the old figurative home where the past is never sunset, no relationship is too toxic to toss and the rose-colored glasses are sold in a one-size-fits-all frenzy--seriously what is wrong with you people and what do you mean by "glass-houses?"
On the otherotherother hand, personally, I've never felt more grounded, more secure, more sure of what it is I'm doing than I do now, despite the slips and slides, the failures and the Almost-Made-It-Maybe-Next-Times which seem to be the mile-markers of us struggling artist types.
On the otherotherotherother hand I may just be delusional; seriously, I can always teach.
Where was I?
Oh, right: Merry Christmas, Baby. We're surrounded by good folk--we really are. There's talent all around. You make me smile--you really do and we're gonna make it through this together. Pass the Rose-Colored glasses; the Christmas Spirit is knocking and he's sporting some nog. We're buying a tree on Christmas Eve and gearing up for the birthday tunnel on the way to the New Year . . .
Don't stop us now, We're having such a good time . . .