We went to the city yesterday. We had some gift cards to spend, and since Chapters online can be hard to navigate, we took the kids to the brick and mortar store.
Woodgrove Center Mall a week ago was a happy and bustling place, filled with (mostly) pleasant, excited people who smiled at you when you made eye contact. "Merry Christmas!" was a euphonic chorus on my ears.
And now, Baby Jesus is looking around going "Hey! Where'd everybody go?" Fast forward a few days, to December 27. ALMIGHTY. Those people are cranky!! I mean, they are MAD cranky! This one guy went past me in the food court (which was like the eighth circle of hell), and he practically flipped me the bird when I happened to glance at him, made eye contact, and gave a half-smile. He nearly snarled. His brow descended and I swear his lip curled. I looked away, kind of scared, and accidentally made eye contact with someone else. Oops! sorry. I'll keep my eyes on the floor from now on.
You should have seen the sad, pitiful tables at Winners, full of 50% off last-ticketed-price "Christmas Decor" items. Packs of six ornaments, one in smithereens, propping up listless, haphazardly-coiled wreaths of red-painted styrofoam balls, with their paint flaking. Every Santa's hat was crooked, every cheerful elf missing the toe of one resin shoe. Drifts of glitter sifted down to the peeling tile, to be kicked around by wet and muddy boots. The last week of December, they should change their name to "Losers".
By the time I got home, I just wanted to throw everything away. Like, everything I own. Take everything (except my new slippers), shove it into a bag, and bin it. Take that tree, ornaments and all, and throw it on the compost. Take all the tins of baking, full, and chuck them in a dumpster. I bought a "Boxing Day Door Crasher" $4.99 Blu Ray of "The English Patient" today -- screw it. Kick it to the curb.
And it's all because of that unholy mall. It's all because of those stupid people, pushing and shoving and frowning and glowering, because they didn't get the iPhone they were hoping for, or their kid threw up on them after too much eggnog or the turkey was dry or the turkey was raw or they forgot the potatoes. Or because they ate too much or drank too much, or because they didn't drink enough. Because three days ago they spent too much money panicking about little Johnny's stocking not being as full as little Janey's, and now they are out at the mall to find some 'deals' and throw good money after bad.
I solemnly swear, by all that is holy and by all that I hold dear...I raise my hand to the heavens, fall on my bended knees and pledge a vow here and now, that I will NOT LEAVE MY HOUSE next year from Boxing Day right through to New Year's Day.
I will keep my Christmas spirit to the last! Right, straight through to Epiphany.
I could still get it back, I think. If I medicate myself carefully with carols, coffee, and rum balls, I think I can recapture that elusive Spirit.
It can't be gone for good, right?
Time for King's College Cambridge, and Captain Morgan. Stat!