LLike most people, my vacation plans have been interrupted by the pandemic. Unable to travel or gather in an indoor public space, forced to stay home to avoid bringing contagious diseases to the people we love, many of us are trying to figure out how to replace our meeting rituals and share in what can be one of the the brightest days of the year, but also one of the loneliest.
I am better prepared than most as I have years of experience managing a socially distanced vacation. I haven’t been home for Christmas in over 20 years, for reasons that are complicated and yet downright boring. A carefully perfected ritual has helped me spend many years of Christmas alone: basically, like a whole tray of deviled eggs from the deli section of the supermarket, I go to the only bar I know will be open and full of my fellow crooks and Bebe slowly all day listening to lonely stories and Elvis on the jukebox. The event bar portion will not be available this year. Either way, 2020 is when the lonely and the rejected finally have the upper hand in Christmas cheer.
Usually it is us, from the outside, looking in. Looking at their happy families, framed in a living room window and illuminated by a well decorated tree, while we remain in the dark and cold. Hollywood will never make a heartwarming Christmas movie about us, the unacceptable and the unacceptable, but now you need our misery-earned wisdom. Well, we are here to help, because many of you are now discovering what we have known and learned to adapt already: that the week from Christmas to New Years is long and dark, a week that needs a strategy to get through safely and sanity. Stripped of its typical distractions: the physical presence of the people you love, the same family stories you hear every year, the infuriating proximity of children enthralled with a new toy, capitalist rituals of consumption and excessive waste, the Christmas season. it is revealed for what it is. it is: terrible work.
After 20 years, I’ve discovered a few things, and maybe they might be of help to you, once the Zoom family call is over and it’s just you and the little mouse making its way through your cookie box again in improperly. air-conditioned apartment. Here are some tips.
You will have to allow yourself a bit of sentimentality, but you will want to control the circumstances so you don’t spill over into a week-long crying party. Take four hours to see exactly one Christmas movie (I personally alternate between It’s a Wonderful Life and Meet Me in St Louis), listen to exactly two Christmas records, and spend exactly 20 minutes in a state of unbridled sobbing. Then take a quick shower, shake it off, maybe watch some Star Trek.
Don’t try to work more as a way to pass the time. We’re all trained at this point to believe that we essentially don’t exist outside of the neoliberal frameworks of work and family, but it’s no use trying to catch up on emails. None of your superiors will respond because you can afford to have lives, and sending an email at 9pm on December 26 will not make you look like a major entrepreneur, but will only reveal to your bosses the true depth of your existential despair. . Don’t give them the satisfaction. Instead, take this opportunity to learn something truly pointless, like a card trick. However, do not post the results of your project on social media, because that is just another way of working.
Each family’s problems are unique, with an intricate variety of Freudian, Jungian, and Lacanian annoyances, and you can waste your entire life fascinated by the way they interact. But try to remember that no family problem, or your particular loneliness or withdrawal, runs deeper than anyone else’s. Like anyone who sent his DNA to 23 and me to find out which foods they might be averse to and instead gave the police the last piece of the genetic puzzle They needed to arrest a cousin for unsolved serial murders. You know, every family has its dark and twisted corners. And we all have our particular pain. So allow yourself to stay outside the pharmacy when the guy you definitely don’t want to talk to starts telling you about his wife who died nine years ago. Your time is no more precious than his.
Let the dark do its job. The winter sun will be elusive, so it’s time to make friends with the moon. Let yourself be a body, pampered with carbohydrates and boxed wine, that goes soft and numb on your couch. Resist the tyranny of the corporate clock: sleep when you want to sleep, watch Star Trek when you want to see Star Trek, eat when you want to eat, drink when you want to drink.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.