|Tuesday, December 25th, 2001|
12:35a - I have the candles prepared, and the monkeys in place.
I have a large pousse napping on an open chaise. I have my Christmas pickles; they're mostly like normal pickles, 'cept, despite everyone else denying that they can hear them, these ones sing. Admittedly, that does make the "I'm-going-to-eat-you-now" part rather awkward.
(Let me say right now that the upcoming discussion and quotes are not specifically focused against the original author - this just seems to encompass a lot of what I've been seeing or hearing as of late, and is the first writing I've seen that covers it...)
In between napping, reading and having a hot milkbath, I decided to peruse through a few online journals - I guess to see how others were spending their time... I found this paragraph of an entry that made me all warm and fuzzy with the holiday spirit:
Well, it's that time of the year again. This Christmas is actually a pretty good one for me, though. I like being here with mom for the holidays, and her boyfriend really is quite charming. It's nice to see my mom so obviously happy :) Her boyfriend seems to do all the little things that make her happy, and he doesn't do them because he thinks he should; he does them because it really seems that he wants to. I went with him to pick up her xmas gift this afternoon, and he got her a full home theater system with Dolby surround sound (five different speakers, subwoofer, DVD player, CD player..... nice). And he's going to wire her entire house for internet access, and he got her an antique platter she'll really love. He's taken really special care to get her things she'll like.... it's great to finally see my mom smile and giggle and have a man make her happy instead of miserable and crazy. She deserves it.
Now, perhaps I'm just taking this the wrong way. Maybe what was written was not what was intended. I certainly hope so; however, the author of this has always struck me as being precise, and very literary - definitely a good thing!
Back in the day ...years ago it seems... when I was in school, there was a definite structure to reports, essays, or most other means of expressing and making a point. It went a little something like this:
1. introduction/opening statement
2. supporting argument(s) - we were always told to have three
3. conclusion/closing statement
Applying this rough methodology to the above quote, I find:
1. Her boyfriend seems to do all the little things that make her happy...
2a. ...and he got her a full home theater system with Dolby surround sound (five different speakers, subwoofer, DVD player, CD player..... nice).
2b. And he's going to wire her entire house for internet access...
2c. ...and he got her an antique platter she'll really love.
3. ...it's great to finally see my mom smile and giggle and have a man make her happy instead of miserable and crazy. She deserves it.
Did I miss something? Was there any indication of anything beyond pure materialism in this? Since when is "a full home theater system" a little thing? Having the entire house wired for the Internet is incredibly romantic - in fact, I believe even the sub-cockles of my heart are starting to warm up. An antique platter - sounds to me like an expensive ornament for the wall, glass cupboard or . No wonder she's smiling and giggling!
I felt pretty bad at one point, for not having gotten Mom's boyfriend any gifts..... but I really couldn't afford it, especially in light of the fact that I didn't even know the guy, and still don't, really. I can't buy gifts for people I know next to nothing of. It goes against the entire spirit of gift-giving, I think. But I know he got me something, so I was feeling kind of bad about that (or at least awkward), until I was reading through one of my favorite pastry books last night and found something which I thought would interest him: a South African cinnamon-milk tart recipe. He's from South Africa, and the book said that it was a really traditional and beloved dessert there. I asked him about it, and he freaked out with joy. "Milk tart?! Wow, what book is that? I love milk tart!" One gift I can always give is the gift of food. And my favorite gift of food to give is that of a beloved dish, one as flavorful with memory as it is with its particular ingredients. These are the sweetest and best-tasting dishes of all, and one of the best gifts I could ever think to give or receive. His gift, then, shall be a milk tart.
This part starts out well, I think. Who hasn't had that bad feeling creep over them when someone gives them a gift, and they have none to give in exchange? The anxiety that starts in the pit of the stomach, the swelling embarrassment, stammering and not knowing what to say. God bless the marketers! How can one not feel this way, being raised with commercials and advertisements stressing how horrible it is to forget about anyone? It's taken years to shed this propaganda, but I think I'm finally through it. Now it just sickens me. It helped when I realized one very important thing: they weren't actually forgotten! It doesn't take the purchase of a material object to prove to anyone how I feel about them. The more or less spent on someone doesn't indicate that they're more or less important to me! I'm fairly confident at this point that my friends know who they are, and know what they mean to me without my giving a contribution to the market economy. Perhaps next year, for anyone who might not be able to figure it out, I'll give a card with a rating in it... out of 10, of course! "That's right - you're this important!" A little more direct than guessing at what level various presents may put one at, don't you think?
Quickly after it starts, though, this paragraph goes downhill again...
"I can't buy gifts for people I know next to nothing of. It goes against the entire spirit of gift-giving, I think."
What, then, is the entire spirit of gift-giving? Can one not give a toy to a child who would not normally get one, without knowing the child? Even more basic, can one not give the gift of a meal to those in need of food without knowing them? Can one not give the gift of warm clothes to those in need of refuge from the cold without knowing them? And why does gift-giving have to be purchased?! Can not gifts be made? Can one not support organizations who provide food/shelter/clothing for those in need? Can one not donate time and/or money to such a cause? Are these not the more noble and valuable gifts that one can give? I'd be willing to bet that "a full home theater system" would buy enough to feed two families for close to two months... which one is the better gift?
...found something which I thought would interest him: a South African cinnamon-milk tart recipe. He's from South Africa, and the book said that it was a really traditional and beloved dessert there. I asked him about it, and he freaked out with joy. "Milk tart?! Wow, what book is that? I love milk tart!" One gift I can always give is the gift of food. And my favorite gift of food to give is that of a beloved dish, one as flavorful with memory as it is with its particular ingredients. These are the sweetest and best-tasting dishes of all, and one of the best gifts I could ever think to give or receive. His gift, then, shall be a milk tart.
Ordinarily, I'd be jumping all over the apparent discrepancy between this part and the previous quote... however, this eve, that's not my focus. This part, in my humble opinion, is fan-fucking-tastic! Now, that's a gift! Simple, elegant, and has a lot of meaning... if a gift must be given, that's the kind to give. The recipe was stumbled across, and it fit. It just fit. The beauty of it is that a gift like that could be given at any time, and it would still mean the same thing! There isn't an artificial value attached to it; it's not a Christmas present - it's a true gift that could be given without rhyme or reason, and would still touch the heart of the one it was given to...
Didn't I mention that this person was a good writer? "...one as flavorful with memory as it is with its particular ingredients." Excellent relational devices! I've always loved reading this person's literary work.
Well, that's enough for one entry... if I think of more to write about, I'll post again (duh!)...
current mood: cynical
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It is now 1 hour and 48 minutes into the day of Christmas... I was told that once the day was upon me that perhaps I would have feelings about the whole occasion. I can only surmise that this assumption was afflicted upon me by some poor Christian soul...
I got my pics back from the VNV Nation concert... I'll have them up soon, I promise!! (define 'soon'...) They didn't turn out too badly, all things considered... in truth, I didn't expect any of them to turn out properly...
My cat is sleeping again. She sleeps a lot. Based on "sleeping a lot" I would have been concerned a long time ago... I had someone once tell me that "a cat sleeping too much in old age means that there's not.... much left in them." Well, I'd hate to disappoint the critics, but despite such a diagnosis, Pousse has had a long and very comfortable life! Personally, I don't think it's near an end - there's just nothing else to do around here! Tara picked up some toys for her, which, I'm sure once Pousse gets used to, will provide many hours of entertainment - for Pousse as well as myself in watching her! :)
[this space separated for a reason...]
Never have I felt this... never have I been so happily by myself, and perfectly alone. The sanctity and the candlelight, supported by my view of the mass purchasing insanity. I talked to my mother tonight as well... I feel even more justified in my feelings knowing that, as of late, my mom has felt the same... please note that she does not necessarily agree with my methods... does it matter? By the way, this time, that I thought sacred to family, is being spent with The Pousse... truly, a closer family member you will not find amongst our group.
[what's the reason, you ask? I'm not sure either, anymore... but I know it was gonna hurt! Perhaps I'm slipping again...]
current mood: drunk
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