bunt sign

Saturday, December 7, 2002

For awhile today, I almost found the holiday spirit. It was a little forced, but if that's the only way to get it, it'll have to do.

My thought was that if I deliberately tried to relax while driving to the post office, even put a smile on my face, everything else would fall into place. If I can sing in the car, surely I can smile without attracting too much attention.

And it worked!

Sort of.

I felt like a grinning fool, but at least I wasn't shouting at the idiot in front of me who couldn't find the accelerator with both feet and a— wait, that's not right. I just imagined that the other drivers were someone's saintly grandmother or a kindly kindergarten teacher or my long-lost drugged-out cousin who couldn't escape being the black sheep of the family but is still family for all that and therefore loved and deserving of a little slack.

I was cutting slack right and left, until my eyes bulged out. The smile flickered but refused to die. I was determined.

Then as I was walking from the Food-4-Less parking lot to the post office, I noticed something else. If you walk down the street with a smile on your face, people don't necessarily return your smile. They look the other way, and in the case of one mother walking with her daughter, they pull their children close and almost force them into the gutter.

That incident, I have to admit, wiped the smile off my face, but only for a minute. I muted the smile a bit, trying to look less threatening while keeping the spirit alive. This was going to take more effort than I thought. I didn't want to go back to my usual way of getting through life, avoiding eye contact and acting as if I was in a hurry to get to an important meeting.

So I still have some work to do. The songs and decorations are helping, but obviously the feeling has to come from inside. I'm making progress, although it might take a little fine tuning. I'll keep working on that.

As I walked back to my car, I watched the traffic and couldn't believe what I was seeing. There really are idiots and maniacs out there, making U-turns in the middle of a busy block and pulling across three lanes of oncoming traffic with no room to spare. What had I been grinning at?

I drove home with a straight face, watching out for the crazy people as always and grateful that my black sheep cousin probably still doesn't have a driver's license.

red leaves

The December garden outside my front door.

It was actually a gorgeous late-fall day here in the North Bay, and I spent some time in the glorious outdoors, puttering around the yard. It was still a little muddy from some light rain we had yesterday and the heavy mist we got overnight, so I didn't get down on my hands and knees. But it was a wonderful day to live in a place where to find ice you have to open the refrigerator door, not the front door.

previousbunt signemailnext

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Lock and Key
"I always walk through that door believing I'm going to get into one of her neverending conversation loops, where she tells me the same thing six or seven times, adding details and embellishments and points of view and rhetorical flourishes as we go."

Two years ago: Light Creeping In
"According to my on-this-day mailing list, it was on this day in 1836 that Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth U.S. president. What? December 7, and they didn't have a president-elect yet?"

Subscribe to the notify list to be advised when this site is updated.

Bells are ringing, children singing,
All is merry and bright.