Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Picked the Wrong Week

I never thought of myself as someone, who was seasonally depressed. It’s easy to see why people fall into a deeper emotional hole during the holiday season, particularly in Seattle, where night falls at 4pm and lately it hasn’t been much lighter during the day. I used to avoid the consumer madness and holiday induced depression by going camping on Christmas. Ever since I’ve been working in retail (custom picture framing, bookselling…) it is verboten to take time off during the holidays. I took a sick day Monday, and the response was a muttered shit.

Since I’ve been in retail I’ve missed most of the fun leading up to Christmas, because I was too busy working. Now my job is where I get the most of my holiday cheer, i.e. Christmas music, happy shoppers, a sense of togetherness. Recently I found myself getting choked up, while shelving in the S’s, because I could hear the Christmas music emanating from the café at the back of the bookstore. They are under strict orders to play holiday music through New Year’s Day.

Many of you may remember “Airplane,” that classic comedy from 1980, with those great one-liners by Lloyd Bridges: “I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.” Well, I can similarly state that I picked the wrong week to run out of anti-depressants. I always think when I’m getting low on my little pink and white pills that a day or two without them is no big deal, but apparently that is not so, especially less than two weeks before Christmas. After calling in sick yesterday, I stayed in bed all day, perfecting my mopey mode. I’m two steps away from shuffling around in a bathrobe, unshaven and shopworn, and mumbling communist aphorisms.

Being a divorced parent comes with a bucket of stress, so it’s never easy during the Christmas season. A lot of divorced families compete, trying to out-gift each other, smothering their kids with useless toys and not enough love. Here at my religious household, we do not celebrate Christmas. Not even a pathetic Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I have strung a row of multi-colored lights across one of my bookcases, and when I light it, I actually feel a little flutter of warmth inside.


Last week my son informed me that he would rather not come to my house at Christmas, since we don't celebrate, which to him means no gifts. I always buy him a few gifts, even though that's not what the season is about to me. He's asked for a Lego set, which sounds like fun to me too! I've also promised to install his basketball hoop before spring.. Promises. Promises. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I might receive a surprise bonus this Christmas, which would enable me to fix my desktop computer, in addition to some other repairs and necessities in my life...like socks and underwear. 

Well, since my midnight snack last night was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I think I'll head down to Bagel Oasis for lunch. There seems to be a brief respite between rainstorms, so I should have a dry walk down the hill to the bookstore. Now that I've restocked my anti-depressants, I should be able to skip to work with a song in my heart, and an angst-free head. Yeah, right.

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