Sunday, December 24, 2006

Silent Night

Christmas Eve was the big night when I was a kid. That's when Scandinavians open presents. Christmas morning meant nothing to me. Now, none of it means anything. I don't know that I've ever in my life said "merry Christmas."

I knocked around all day today with nothing to do. Doesn't seem right to work. I don't watch TV. It appears I stopped having friends years ago. My family is all grown and gone, or just gone. Church? Long story.

That other family of mine, the old one -- well, I guess you might say I've outgrown it. Haven't seen my father in twelve or thirteen years. He's just in the next valley, but I don't need the pain. My brothers are just people who knew me when I was small and vulnerable. My mother's normal. But I'm not. So I have no plans for Christmas.

My son called me this morning. My son, in Iraq ... haven't you been paying attention? You can't just drop in on the middle and expect to understand. Woke me from my busy, vivid and bizarre dreams. What do I dream? As much to ask me what my son and I talked about. I've heard there's a difference between sleeping and waking. I think the difference is mostly in the way we remember. He's well, my boy. He can tear decks of cards in two. He bends nails. I'm sure I didn't dream that.

There’s a reason for it, of course -- this holiday restlessness. When we find ourselves alone on such dates, it should be a reminder, and a warning. Life is fleeting, and solitude is an arid place in the soul. Wilderness is for coming out of, eventually. When some people are wrapped in light and warmth and the comfortable embrace of their mates, and others stand like a lone pine on the windswept hilltop -- well, not all cries are from the wind. We should do what we can, then, to find companionship and friendship and love.

Can I come over to your place?

At lunchtime when I was little, I didn't want to sit next to the kids I liked, because then they'd know I liked them. How did I ever get married. No wonder it didn't last.

My ego is too big for me to feel like a goldfish in a bowl -- alone among alien species. I watch the world from the outside. Dry land. Mustn't get wet. Might drown. Someone might think I like them.

What do you suppose? Do you think it was Christmas when God said of Adam that it was not good for a man to be alone? In the context of holiday loneliness, "silent night" becomes chilliing and ominous.

I was wrong, though, when I said I have no plans for Christmas. I think I'll roll. When does it start? Eleven? Eleven-thirty? Hadn't thought I would, but I'm not aching the way I used to, and I'm starting to think I should roll with people I don't know so well. Different games will make me do different things.

Afterwards, maybe I’ll go to Coco’s and try some of their “signature harvest pies.” I’m told they’re delicious. I’ve heard bad things about Denny’s.



n said...

if u really want different games, maybe u might consider going to our affiliate/brother school to our south when R teaches there.

how many showed up today at JJ? i was home with a cold. good times...

merry christmas, jack.

Jack H said...

That's what big J is saying -- go, um, south? -- west? I'm considering it. I do need my brooding time, and this would be a new thing. New people, new places. Brrr. It frightens me. I'll finally be happy when I'm a bloated severed head floating in some nutritious preservative fluid. My gigantic disembodied intellect will then be free to roam the cosmos, working my malevolent will upon all you pathetic hapless pawns, and watching the hot chicks. (Somehow, this fantasy still has hot chicks in it.)

Eight or 10. Big M was coaching young A, who thus got me in a NASTY triangle. I countered with a one-armed scissors choke and he went to sleep for a few seconds. First time that's happened with me. Unsettling. He was fine. But that sort of thing points out how far I have to go. A's gonna get me one of these days. Fast and really good technique. Oh why Why WHY am I so old and so slow?!? It's just not fair. Alas. Alack. And gigantic L had me folded up like a lawn chair, but I managed to pull out a draw. That's what we do -- draw. I think he tries with me, but I don't know that he'd admit it.

Clearly, N, you lack the benefits of perfect nutrition. Why do I even bother. I call it justice.

But a merry Christmas to you, too, N, and may God bless you with every good thing you wish for yourself.