It is, indeed, Christmas Eve. I have been watching A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart!) on the telly this evening, and to my increasing horror, weeping helplessly as it all got more and more sentimental and, by the time Tiny Tim died [Or, did not die. Or is going to would have died - Ed], downright revolting. I dare say the enormous gin and tonic I brought along to help jolly me through the dinner-cooking process was having much the larger say in the matter.
I daresay I have absolutely no business pontificating about Christmas, being a diamond-hard atheist of the Dawkins flavour (if, I do so very hope, somewhat better manners). But there has always been a Solstice festival of some sort, a time to eat up all the bacon before it goes off, kill any calves that we can’t afford to feed over the winter, coddle gramps a bit, because that cough is Not Reassuring; a time, around the arse-end of the year, to look up at the darkening sky, and hope, and pray, that next Solstice we will also have enough spare food to feast on, and beloved people to feast with.
All utterly meaningless to a woman who lives ten minutes walk from Waitrose, has organic smoked salmon in the fridge, and has voluntarily elected to stay the hell away from family until well after Boxing Day this time.
Nevertheless, there I was, sobbing pitifully at Dickens, at reconciliation and charity and dancing with your family after dinner.
You see, it has been a particularly bloody year chez Reed. You may have observed the general paucity of blogging, the ominous weeks-long silences, mentions of surgery, that sort of hintingness. In the grand scheme of things, it is as nothing, mere wisps of unpleasantness that will dissipate the second I cease to exist and/ or get over myself. Please don’t try to hold my hand, I’ll only start bawling again and embarrass the lot of us. My friends have been perfectly sweet (I keep thinking, one day I shall indeed have a big Dickensian Christmas, and have it solely for friends and familial honourable exceptions, and then I shan’t answer the telephone until March, so the dishonourable majority can’t say a word to me about it). My family have been a pain, bless them, even when they most earnestly did not mean to be, and really, it’s Christmas, and I should have been more charitable and spent it with them. As it is, S and I are spending tomorrow barricaded into our little flat, eating ourselves silly, preferably in pyjamas, and generally being bah-humbuggy little Scrooge-bags all by our selves.
And wondering if the three Spirits of Christmas are going to break in and give me hell for it.