The day started of in blessed silence. I say that not because I attribute any religious significance to the day (I don’t) but because I didn’t have to set my alarm clock. I worked until 3pm on the 24th and then spent the rest of the afternoon running around town frantically trying to find a store that not only sold snow shovels but that was still open to sell me one – believe me, that was a much more involved undertaking than I thought possible. After that I met my Commanding Officer and her adorable boyfriend at Downtown Wine and Gourmet for a wine tasting. We went from there to the Dodger and enjoyed hot apple cider and bourbon. I was home and in bed before 10pm and before I fell asleep realized I DID NOT HAVE TO SET MY ALARM CLOCK. That was a somewhat unsettling realization because I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t been woken by an alarm.
Even sans alarm I was up and functioning by 8:15 the morning of December 25th. I’m cat sitting for my Good Friend, so I decided to enjoy the lack of any commitments for the day and walked to his house. I stepped outside and was greeted by a fresh half-inch or so of snow. The walk was quiet and gave me time to reflect on Christmas in the United States – thoughts I may or may not share on this blog at a later date, if I’m ever brave enough.
I got home and tackled the kitchen. My kitchen had been a disaster for so long it was becoming a source of massive anxiety, but I’ve been too busy to give it any time or attention. I tore all the appliances off the counters and washed them and the counters, scrubbed the dish drainer and mat, sorted the recycling (previously I couldn’t even sit at the kitchen table without cardboard recycling jabbing me in the back!), dealt with the compost, cleaned off the top of the refrigerator, and basically just made the kitchen a place I can enter without immediately wanting to run screaming from the clutter. It felt great to be so productive and if I hadn’t been forced to take a break on December 25th because everyone else in American was, I’m not sure when I would have gotten around to it.
The afternoon I spent warm and cozy in bed reading and napping which felt simultaneously radically indulgent and blissfully peaceful.
In an attempt to not be totally socially isolative, I went out to the Dodger around 6 and stayed until sometime after midnight. It was a replay of warm apple cider and bourbon (which, by the way, looks much prettier in a red mug than black mug). Some of the details of hazy, thanks to the warm apple cider and bourbon, but I do remember it being one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had in a long time. Good conversation that was at times totally hilarious and irreverent and at others serious and thought provoking. The night concluded with some amature applications of evolutionary psychology: people watching at a bar is always entertaining and was made even more so by a drinking companion who is particularly observant and astute.
The point of my review of December 25th? I get to decide the significance I give any day or event. Just because the majority of Americans do something does not, in any way shape or form, mean that I have to do it as well. My friends aren’t going to press me to do something that makes me uncomfortable and some of them will even join me in doing my own thing.
Now, for New Years… what really appeals to me is a bottle of wine, a bath, and reading my amazing new book, “Networks of the Brain” by Sporns. That may sound totally lame to some (I actually know it does), but the alternative – a traditional New Year’s Eve party with lots of people and social interaction – kinda freaks me out. Doing my own thing for December 25th worked so well and felt so good for me that I’m going to do it again next week, no matter how much people might want me to do something else. Perhaps I am coming into my own.