Needful Things. A Covid Holiday

As of this writing, I had many plans for the day. Then I got up and I made a key realization. I didn’t want to do any of them. What results is a long shower, a second coffee, and an impromptu jotting down of a few thoughts I have about the holiday season in this strangest of years, 2020. So as I sit here to the soundtrack of my neighbors chattering mindlessly downstairs, Ill pretend I’m in a cabin, high in the Alps, far from the noise- perfectly serene. As nice a place as any to rant.

7am. I’m up. I turned off my alarm last night. I stay in bed as long as possible, for no particular reasons other then the siren long of pure unadulterated idleness, which given my hectic job schedule, is more than earned. As I lay there, keeping my phone at bay all the way on the sofa- I do my best to fashion some kind of Robert Louis Stevenson style convalescent whimsy. I’ll use the time to fathom poems in my head- perhaps some so good I may write them, maybe share them, and then the final crescendo-read them. Yet, to my dismay, the only thing I can fathom is the desire for coffee. I get up- seeing myself in an old bar mirror from the 60’s I got during some scant period of extravagance. Not my best look. Fortunately nobody else is here to see it,

I make coffee, black as night, and top it off with cinnamon, and then saunter back to bed, managing the seemingly impossible feat of not spilling a drop on the pure white sheets. Egyptian cotton, not to brag- also got during a scant period of extravagance. I try to crack into my latest read, a biography of Queen Marie Antionette, but for some reason, I just can’t get into the whirl of 18th century French societal intrigue this morning. Something is lacking, as I’m too enmeshed in my own world to loose myself in that of another-no matter how seemingly fascinating. I sip. I stare. I look up. I survey my home-a feat readily accomplished by simply glancing left. There’s the tree. Her tone is audibly tan this year. Has even she succumbed to the malaise of 2020? I have reason to believe so.

Last night, as I cut into a plate of take out lasagna from the place around the corner, half the lights burned out-as though on cue. Okay, in all fairness, they were three years old. Still I’m less annoyed and more oddly amused. I’ve a big believer in signs. Certain things can tap into our subconsciousness and reflect them. The vibrations of our temperament and tone, or something to that effect. This year, spurred on with an ankle biting fatigue and a waning whimsy for the season, which I can only see as the result of an endless cocktail of hours working a seasonal job in a warehouse, where you sling heaps of useless overpriced crap nobody needs onto a conveyer belt and answer to people with the intellectual capacity of 1 year old toe nail clippings, an endless onslaught of pandemic imposed fear, my constantly itchy face mask, pie in the sky political promises ready to be broken, as well as a manufactured dead ended corporate joy that would no doubt make even the Christ child reel in revulsion-I think I’ve had my fill.

Therein lay my proposition. In this year of societal isolation, squandered stimulus money, mass produced custom made face masks gallons of sanitizer flowing from bodegas like the Ganges – would simply pausing the holidays be too much to ask? No trees. No turkeys. No gifts. No THINGS. How many THINGS do we need? Enough surreal events have happened to be sure. Would it really be too much to simply-not get together and overeat? To not spend money we should be saving to to get things we don’t need? If the Christmas spirit is your thing, then why should material objects and a glutted stomach mean anything at all? Even the Grinch, a character in a children’s book no less- was wise to this! The artificial needless synthetic of any holiday, not simply Christmas, seems ill suited, silly and needless in light of year of pandemic. Is it really asking to much too much for a year while we simply learn to better ourselves?

The joy of the season is free. The cold weather is free. Listen to music. Get a pine scented candle if you must. Now, I know that this proposition has the appeal of eating a live roach to the average American consumer. One would easily be named a “Scrooge”, which in my opinion, is a blanketed and loathsome moniker heaped on anyone who has a less then spry to the point of manic attitude in regards to the holidays. The older I get, the more I get Scrooge. Scrooge had been through things . Scrooge, for lack of a better term, had “seen some sh*t”. A measure of cynicism in my opinion, especially in a year such as this, seems not only appropriate but necessary.

This makes me figure eight right back to my little tree. Maybe we were on the same page. Perhaps in its hushed and unspoken little way, it was saying, “what’s the point this year, man?”


I know to many these are wasted words. More often then not my soapbox is not as high and flashy as I’d like. However, the least I can do is get them out.

As far as I’m concerned, in the year of 2020, my ideal Christmas would be to be sitting in a nice large easy chair, near a warm fire, in a secluded bar, nursing my second martini. Unburdened by all the rabble and nauseating noise. Unchained to any gifts, turkeys, nog, reindeers with bizarre physical abnormalities, cards with snappy wishes, vile social media filters and 20 dollar cinnamon scented candles. My boots off, my feet up- my mind incandescent, totally free. The idea of holiday celebration in the time of covid19 is like watching ICU patients suddenly bursting free of their beds and jamming to disco music, their fluid bags spilling on the floor. No thanks.

-Yet here I am. In apartment. A more aware cog, but a cog nonetheless.

Now time to go to the store and get some damn lights.

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