i’ve grown accustomed to your face

When I was on Facebook years ago, I used to receive tons of texts from people on my birthday. And about 10 years ago, there was a trend where people sent out group “merry xmas” and “happy new years” texts on those respective holidays.

I hated receiving all of those texts.

I felt like all of them were cheap, basically worthless. If FB is just telling people it’s your birthday, like some sort of alarm on an electronic calendar, and if people are just ticking the box next to your name before hitting ‘send’ on a mass mail-out, it’s not very heartfelt, is it? I was quite happy when I quit FB, and when the xmas and New Years text trend died, and all those stupid texts ceased.

But yesterday, I was thinking about how I generally spend those particular days with just Jenn, and I realized that if I wasn’t with her, I would spend those special days quite alone. I would probably get up and go about my business, like any other day. I find that incredibly sad, incredibly miserable. In my early 20’s, I spent one xmas alone as an experiment and I remember being shocked at how depressing and crushingly lonely it was, even for me.

Now, I’m exaggerating slightly here — a few people still text me on the days in question, but the number has dwindled so much so that if the trend continues, this desolate future I’m prophesying will actually come to pass in just a few years.

So the conclusion I came to is that sometimes, things are only annoying until they’re gone, and then once they’re gone, you wish someone cared enough to annoy you.

Another interesting aspect to this is that years ago, Mark told me he read some study about how people in unhappy relationships were happier than people who were alone. I thought that was stupid because I think my dad has been in an unhappy relationship for 30 years, and always thought he’d be way happier alone. But after this ‘annoying text’ revelation, I think Mark and that study and my dad may be on to something. Maybe having someone to bitch at you and bicker with constantly is better than waking up alone every morning, spending the day in silence, going to bed, and knowing that if you died, no one would notice for weeks.

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the wrap

well, festivus has come and gone. so has xmas. and now we are in the tense period between xmas and new years eve, a weird time that feels kind of like an extended holiday even though everyone is back to work and stores are open for their regular hours. and i feel appropriately tense and weird.

festivus was wonderful. i was so overwhelmed with joy that the next day, i wanted to reach out to everyone i saw the night before and tell them all how much i love and appreciate them. this song came on out of nowhere at the very end of festivus and became a perfect soundtrack to my giddy over-stimulation.

jenn and i slept in late the following day and then spent the afternoon and xmas eve with her parents at their place. it snowed while we walked on the beach, which is no small feat in maple bay. my holiday high continued.

xmas morning was lovely too. i made breakfast for jenn and i, we unwrapped our presents to each other, and we dog walked with matt and chant. it was all one can hope for from xmas. i worked that night, which turned out to be the boiling point for my hatred for my employer but that’s a boring story not worth sharing here, and luckily, hasn’t really affected how i’m feeling now.

what will new years eve hold? will it measure up to the rest of this holiday season? no one knows but i’m still feeling a bit giddy, and looking forward to whatever the night ends up bringing.

chaossymbol

although i’m hoping for complete and utter chaos, naturally.

it’s the mooost horrible soooong of the yyyeeeaaarrr

yesterday the radio was playing non-stop christmas music while i was getting my hair cut. i was forced to sit through the trash and it drove me nuts. almost every christmas song is an utter piece of shit.

the one i hated the most was it’s the most wonderful time of the year. virtually every line of that song is insipid, stupid, or just plain unrealistic. let’s dissect it.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year – false. besides xmas and new years, most people i know hate winter.
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer” – i really fucking hate people using sentence inversions for the sake of rhyme schemes, and no one on earth has ever said to anyone else, “be of good cheer.” maybe i should say that to jenn the next time she’s in a bad mood. she’ll be confused AND aggravated.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the hap-happiest season of all – hap-happiest? that’s stupid.
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call – i’m ok with this bit. it’s true.
It’s the hap-happiest season of all

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting – as if roasting marshmallows was ever a big fucking deal. maybe it was back in london during the industrial revolution when everyone was dirt poor and died at age 30 but since then, roasting marshmallows has been nothing special, and certainly nothing to make mention of in a dumb song.
And caroling out in the snow

There’ll be scary ghost stories – i actually like this line. i wish there were more ghost stories at xmas.
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago – i think this is a vague reference to the birth of christ so i totally hate that since christianity is, like every other organized religion, complete bullshit.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistletoeing – that’s ok. it’s kind of cute. i like thinking of couples goofing around and kissing.
And hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near – that’s an exceptionally weak line. glowing hearts? “when loved ones are near?” it sounds like something an 8-yr old would come up with. the writers were clearly struggling to find something that rhymes with ‘mistletoeing’ and ‘year.’
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

**************

what a turd. of course, most other christmas songs aren’t much better. i was almost as annoyed by all the other crap i was forced to sit through while my hair was being cut. but then john and yoko’s happy xmas (was is over) came on, and i like that song just fine. i think it’s because it’s more realistic, not so head in the sand/”everything in the world is perfect”/psychotically in denial. i can actually relate to this song on some level. so there, i’m not just an anti-christmas grinch. i just hate most christmas songs as much as i hate most everything else.

reading up on happy xmas (was is over) now, i see that while originally released in 1971, it reappeared on the billboard charts in 1983, 1984, and 1985. i remember hearing it when i was very young and my parents were still together so that must have been ’85. i liked it back then too. i remember thinking it had a sad quality to it that stood out to me. so i guess i also have some nostalgia for it too.

always something interesting to learn about myself, it seems.

happy non-religious holidays. the world is shit but you have to make the best of it.

dear mother, dear father

today my mom told me that when i was little, she used to run an informal daycare at home to make a little extra money. my dad worked for fisheries so he was away for about a month at a time but when he came home, he told her he didn’t want her doing the daycare thing because it was a nuisance to him. she told him to get stuffed, that the neighbours were already depending on her so even if she was going to stop doing it (which she wasn’t), she’d have to give them lots of notice. my dad’s response was to lock mom and all kids out of the house all day long.

i couldn’t believe it when i heard that story. i wondered if mom was exaggerating, and if the truth would be a little less damning to my father, but then i remembered that i personally witnessed him having enraged tantrums, ranting and raving like a wild man, and kicking chairs into walls. he clearly had some anger and control issues so maybe there is something to my mom’s story.

sort of similarly, tyrone told me that back when he was a kid, his dad bought a really nice big toy fire truck for ty or one of his siblings for christmas. ty’s dad wrapped the thing up but eventually decided it was too nice to give to his kids so he kept the toy in the christmas wrapping paper in his closet. and it’s still there in the wrapping paper today, 30 years later. that’s insane.

to me, those are both examples of extremely odd behaviour that both my dad and ty’s dad should be embarrassed of. ty said his dad just laughs it off whenever anyone brings the fire truck up and doesn’t actually address it. my dad totally denies ever losing his temper, even though there are still marks in his house where he put the chair through the drywall and had to repair it. my dad and ty’s dad should each be able to say, “yeah, that was weird/uncool of me. i can admit it now,” but they can’t. 30 years later, they’re still either ignorant of or in denial about certain aspects of themselves. that bothers me.

i want to be hyper self-aware. i try to constantly ask myself why i’m doing any of the stuff i’m doing. when i realize i’m doing something i’m not proud of, i try to acknowledge it and change my behaviour. of course, i’m not saying “my dad was a dickhead but i’m an amazing, great person. where’s my award?” but i do think i’m more self-aware than he is. and i wonder if that’s a generational thing, like if my generation is more focused on mental health and acknowledging feelings and root causes of our actions, or if this is the same thing that every kid thinks about their parents. i don’t know but i somehow feel pretty confident it’s a generational thing. i feel like the further back you go, the more people had a head-in-the-sand, “because i say so” approach to dealing with people and problems. so as much as i hate all the annoying touchy-feely bullshit that is ubiquitous these days, i have to admit there are benefits to being more in touch with feelings.

i want to ask my dad about locking mom and the daycare kids out of the house but am not sure i want to open that can of worms. i don’t want to make him feel bad for something dumb he may or may not have done 35 years ago.

finding myself through dish washing

more talk about washing dishes. brace yourselves.

1 – when i have dinner at someone else’s house, i like to do the dishes afterward not only to help out and reciprocate their kindness but also because i want to avoid the awkwardness of drying the dishes and having no idea where to put them. trying to help out but requiring ample assistance when doing so is a horrible, pathetic thing.

on a similar note, it’s funny how good i feel about helping clean up at get togethers because i used to absolutely loathe it. the fact that i was soon going to feel obligated to help out always cast a gloom over whatever fantastic meal the host was graciously providing me. oh yes, i was incredibly, ridiculously lazy and selfish, and i am still ashamed of it. i was the same way with thank you letters after christmas. my parents would be on my ass to write to uncle bill and aunt lois and the various other mystery relatives who kindly sent money every year despite having never met me (at least as far as i could remember), but i couldn’t have given less of a shit about thanking them back then. the worst part is that the war of attrition with my parents sometimes ended with me winning, not writing any thank you letters. it’s awful. i’m so embarrassed. it might be residual guilt from those thankless years that drives me to try to be more vocal about my gratitude now.

2 – when i wash the dishes, i no longer fill the sink with dish water. instead, i fill the largest pot or mixing bowl and use that for my dish water. it probably uses less than 1/4 of the water of the sink. i started doing that a few years ago when we were put on severe water restrictions due to drought and it’s stuck with me since. i’m proud of this method because it’s super simple yet very effective.

taking it one step further, when i’m finished washing dishes i can take the pot or mixing bowl outside and water the fruit trees and ornamental plants with the stuff. marion showed me that part, bless her eco-friendly heart.

i must be really thin on material these days.

to judge a man by the length of his hair

last xmas, jenn and i spent a few weeks in kauai. while cruising around exploring the island, we listened to the local radio. one night on the way home from another day of adventures, a funky old tune about hair came on that i fell in love with immediately. i waited to hear the name of the artist or song but never caught it so when we got back to our place, i hopped on my computer and started searching for said tune. to my amazement, i couldn’t find it. i spent hours but came up empty-handed. i was shocked and disappointed.

since then i’ve thought about that tune a few times and wondered if i would die without ever finding out what it was. i could tell it was old but i had never heard it before so i thought if i had gone 36 years without hearing it before, i’d probably go another 36 without hearing it again.

fast forward to yesterday when i was watching slap bass lessons on youtube. in the related vids section, i noticed a song called hair by graham central station. i furrowed my brow and wondered, could this be it?

yep, that was it, and it’s as awesome as i remember.

i love when happy coincidences like this come occur. i was totally resigned to never hearing that song again, and now i can not only listen to it whenever i want, but i can also play the bass part whenever i want. i would never have imagined it.

fucking eh.

additionally nice is that this song will probably always remind me of nights in kauai with jenn, driving home in the dark after checking out tiny towns, meeting wonderful locals, witnessing the oddness of xmas decorations juxtaposed against flip flops and humid tropical weather, soaking in the unique culture of the island. that’s my fave part about this. my love for nostalgia is strong.

warm feeling

last night, i went to a christmas party at the old twiss homestead. it was a lovely affair, really classic and traditional. i got some great time in catching up with friends i don’t see often enough, and i left with that wonderful bittersweet feeling that accompanies a great night.

ab26810

it felt like this looks, and this actually looks a lot like the twiss’ log house at christmas.

an aspect of the night that seems incongruous with that previous paragraph was that trish, carling, and i all talked about feeling bummed recently at events that had all the ingredients for a fab night yet somehow fell short. it was weird that each of us had independently had such similar experiences lately, and i felt bad for both of them because i know how much that sort of thing has bothered me. it sucks to feel shitty.

that wasn’t the whole of our conversations last night though: there was lots of good catching up and joking around, the kind of stuff that you generally only get from relationships with great people that you’ve known for a long time. and in the end, between that quality time with wonderful old friends, the cozy xmas decorations and festive lights, the incredible spread of snacks and desserts, i headed home feeling the warm afterglow of a night that i will always remember fondly — it was a wonderful holiday evening.

and on the way home, i realized that the night had sort of been an opposite version of the surprise bummer nights trish, carling, and i had talked about, in that i had been looking forward to this night but didn’t anticipate feeling this moved by it — i was caught off guard by what an especially good time i had. it was neat to experience this in reverse right after talking so much about surprise bummer nights. and even after realizing it, i was still sort of shocked because it’s not like anything crazy had happened to make it stand out as super special night. i mean, when i told jenn it was a really nice night, i couldn’t give any quick examples of why it was so nice.

i think what it boils down to is that wild, crazy parties and late nights can be super cool, but spending quality time and having genuine connections with people you care about and respect can be just as super cool, even if it doesn’t make for a mind-blowing story.

old friends.