Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas time = no time

Time doesn’t fly. It drives a Maserati 190 mph down the Autobahn blithely oblivious to the brick some prankster strapped to the accelerator.

Where did Christmas go?

People who think Christmas time refers to a season are wrong.

Christmas time is a spacial acceleration that turns weeks into days, days into hours, etc.

It’s like the whole season disappears down a black hole, only the black is replaced with tinsel, glitter, and flashing colored Christmas lights and the whole giddy trip is soundtracked like one of those sped-up Alvin & The Chipmunks monstrosities.

I feel like I didn’t do anything.

My wife did all the shopping, all the wrapping, all the organizing, all the cheer spreading and somehow found time to patiently listen to all my bitching about never having any time to do anything.

I feel like I didn’t spend enough special time with my daughters, my wife or all my needy bar buddies.

Christmas cards? Not a chance.

I haven’t sent a batch of cards in 10 years. I always say I’ll compensate by spending an afternoon calling dozens of far-flung friends just to wish them Merry Christmas.

So far, I’ve phoned just one dude and part of my motivation was to remind him he still owes me $20 so that taints the whole gesture.

I wanted to write a piece about my book review The Cleveland Plain Dealer published this week about Greg Olear’s book, “fathermucker.”

It’s the first book review I’ve written in 20 years because it’s the first fictional book in 20 years I’ve read that made me want to shake strangers on the street until they’d agree to buy it. It’s wonderful.

Plus, we’ve had some brief correspondence and he seems like a really decent guy, rare in anyone audacious enough to practice the self-absorbed craft of writing.

Or so I’m told.

I cracked up an old friend earlier this year when I told him my greatest quality was self-forgiveness. I was telling him about my perceived shortcomings in dealing with my aging Mom.

“No matter how often I lose my temper,” I said, “I just say, ‘Hey, I’m doing the best I can. I’m only human.'”

It’s like I’ve extended myself a personal get-my-conscience-out-of-jail-free card.

How come I can so easily overlook cruel failings in dealing with my dear mother, yet feel forlorn I let Christmas slip by?

Is it because Christmas is only once a year?

I wondered this morning if this self-imposed funk would lift if, geez, I found a big bag of money.

I don’t think that’s it. I don’t need more Christmas money.

I need more Christmas.

I need time to take my wife out to dinner and show her how much she means to me.

I need two full days to take each of our daughters somewhere Christmas special so they’ll have memories of Daddy lavishing them with the attention every little girl deserves.

I need a night to spend with my fading mother so she’ll maybe realize her son’s there for more than just pills and bills.

And what would Christmas be without more time getting gooned up with all my buddies? The more time I spend all alone writing, the more I appreciate the time I get to spend with the friends who help keep me essentially silly.

I wish I had time to sit home alone for an evening in front of the fire to read, watch an old Western, and marvel at the shabby little Christmas tree the girls decorated while I was out doing something I don’t remember.

Maybe that quiet little reverie is what I need to deploy the self-forgiveness card and realize I’m doing the best I can.

I’m sure you are, too. I can guess I’m not alone in wondering where the time went.

I’m sure you wish you had more time to do what matters most at Christmas -- and it’s not getting gooned up with friends, although that is high-up on the to-do list.

If some Christmases, all we have time to do is wish one another a sincere Merry Christmas then let it be done.

Merry Christmas, my friends! Let there be peace on Earth!

That’s straight from the heart.

I hope you’ll forgive me if it sounded a little rushed.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Chris!

Thanks for all of your posts over the last year. You have ofter left me either pondering or laughing, it have been most appreciated!

Now go spend time with your family!

- Emma

Chris Rodell said...

Thank you so much, Emma. I'm so pleased folks like you take the time to check in and to flatter me with that kind of comment. I hope you'll share the blog with friends whenever you find it worthy.

And may you have a Merry Christmas, too!

Chris R.

Our Whole Grove said...

Happy solstice!
Tis not the endless summer,
but its inverse.
mysterious unexpected
time + space= wow!
respect the mistletoe!
enjoy the ride!
Happy holidays, merry Christmas
Love to you and yours!
Bryan ZM557

Chris Rodell said...

What a wonderful and enigmatic comment, my friend! Quinn's opening a new bar in Columbus in March. No TVs! I'll keep you posted on all the trips!

Merry, Merry Christmas! And I'll respect the hell out of the mistletoe!