A Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The other day Ann and I were in a shop. Must’ve been a grocery store because lately, well, we don’t get around much anymore. Pandemic paradise for a couple of cranky misanthropes. Anyway, we heard a Christmas carol. I realized I was nanoseconds away from a psychotic meltdown. It’s only November for fuck’s sake and we’ve other things to worry about! I willed myself to read the Nutrition Facts label on a tin of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Breathe, oh by gosh, by jingle. Do the directional floor arrow decals matter if I’m standing sideways? Where’s Ann? She’s got the list. I foresaw the caption to some stranger’s iPhone Facebook video: “Boomer dude loses his shit in baking aisle!”
The “Catch-22” about mental health is that if you’re worried about your upper storey state of affairs, you likely needn’t be. God knows American author Joseph Heller understood irony. Still, ‘tis the seasonal disorder season, the blue, blue nights before Christmas.
Come November in the northerly latitudes everything that dies is already dead. The month has been coloured by the somberness of Remembrance Day for more than a hundred years. Dreary November portends an even darker December, lower light and shorter days. And no libertarian nutjob alive in 2020 can recall such a lethal hoax being sold to the masses by the global elite as covid-19. AIDS and SARS were beta tests for laboratory synthesized scourges, way beyond fluoride in tap water.
Wednesday was sunny and only two below. Ann suggested we take advantage of the unseasonable weather and string up the Crooked 9’s exterior Christmas lights ahead of our usual schedule. I don’t even like to contemplate temporary Christmas décor of any sort until at least mid-December and everything must be rebinned and back downstairs in the storage room by the second day of a new year.
Alberta has sunk to a grim nadir. A wild rose-coloured glasses view of the province’s energy industry has created a confounding boom and bust complacency for generations. Extreme climate events are now mundane, everyday. Covid-19, to date a crisis ineptly managed by government authorities, supplied the blindside knockout punch; sweet science need not apply. Ann and I wonder what merits inbreeding and home schooling bring to public office.
Our exterior festive display is exceedingly modest. A zigzag garland of red and green lights affixed to ten feet of black wrought iron porch railing. The wreath is getting somewhat tired, the red ribbon has been bleached pink and the Stewart tartan bow is as faded as Rod’s talent. The cabled candy cane came from this century’s five-and-dime, a dollar store. Our lights went on early the other night, November’s final Friday. Godspeed to a miserable month.
Light is a powerful symbol, a universal trope of hope. There will always be a candle in the window, a star in the sky or a shimmering glow at the end of a tunnel, beacons in the dead of night or the dead of winter. Ann and I are aware that this holiday season will easily qualify as the strangest in our lifetimes. Come 2021, I believe we’ll leave our lights up for an extra week or two.
meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of enlightenment since 2013. Sign up for e-mail alerts from the Crooked 9, use that thingy on the right. The second wave is here and winter is coming; you’ll need a distraction.