The weather has started cooling down, and when that happens, something inside of me starts screaming that the holidays are near. Alan would argue that in another life, I was a Christmas elf, and I would have to agree. Holiday sweaters, Christmas music, lights, decorations, wrapping paper, hot cocoa, trees, wreaths — if it can be wrapped, placed under/on a tree, decorated, is warm, snuggly, sparkly, magical, cozy or expresses sentiments of world peace or joy, I am all for it. I don’t even really care about the presents.
One of my first memories of holiday magic goes back to when Nathalie and I were about five. It was Christmas time and we had gotten our hands on a pack of gummy bears. And somehow we discovered that if you didn’t gobble them right up, if you practiced patience first and sucked on them for just a second, you could pull them back out, hold them up in the light and watch them glisten. From our hideout behind the couch, we could see the Christmas tree in all its tinseled glory. And that was when I knew that I liked Christmas.
Since then, winter holidays have always reminded me of the goodness of spending time with family. At a recent dinner with cousins, I was reminded of this special goodness once again.
3 of the cousins, David, Joseph and Eric, were headed to Vegas to spend Halloween in sin-city style. This led to a discussion of pick up lines — which ones were good and which ones were bad. I remembered something someone had said to me the last time I was in a Vegas club and advised them not to say anything like it. It was my 24th birthday, and we were all waiting for something exciting to happen when a guy bumped into me hard. I said “excuse me” and apparently that was an open invitation for confrontation. He looked down at me, a lowly minion of many, and said, “Man, you look fucked up.” He didn’t mean it as a caring stranger would. This wasn’t a “Slow down on the drinks there young lady!” kind of comment. The way he said it made it clear that it was more of a “Whoa, girl! Who let you leave your hotel room looking like that???”
I was just about to launch into the part of the story where I left the club and spent the rest of my birthday crying into a giant margarita at the slot machines, when Denise interrupted my train of thought. She was laughing so hard she could barely sit up in her chair. (Example 1 of the value of family — they are always willing to laugh with you, if not shamelessly directly at you).
When we moved on to discuss Halloween plans (and after Denise regained composure), Denise asked if I was going to wear my Twitter costume out on Friday night. I said that I planned on it and that it seemed to have gotten a good response from the crowd the other night at the Tweetup, the networking event devoted to Twitterers. Eric agreed, and then he said, “But you know, it’s not going to do so well when you’re in a normal place.” (Example 2 of the specialness of family — they are candid and genuine and they hope you wore waterproof mascara because there is no sugar coating).
I was about to escape to the sanctuary of my duplex to reconsider if I should wear my costume and to think about the state of my appearance. At least if I was a tore up looking Twitter bird, the shabby walls of my duplex could comfort me without judgment. And I know it’s shabby. Joseph told me so. I believe the conversation went like this.
“I really like your place, Sobrina,” said Joseph.
“Thanks, Joe!” I said, trying to contain my happy grin.
“Yeah, someday, I hope to have a shack like that, too.”