Why I Am Possibly a Bad Listener

The holidays.  What can I say?  This year was a rough one.  I am still unemployed and yet tried to be festive.  Forced gaiety is exhausting, by the way.

I drove a couple hours to see family.  And I did what I always do when I am around family –  try to figure out where my malfunctions come from.  I mean, I spent nine years of my life with a man who clearly, in retrospect, did not want me in his life.  (He was always searching for someone better.)  And to make matters worse, after I finally came around to this situation, I fully expected this guy to apologize and feel remorse for the years he kept me at arm’s length (years in which I missed out on having a real relationship and family).  The delusion continues to this day.  I am utterly stupid.  I am not blaming my family, but this shit has got to come from somewhere.  Right?

me

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Unfortunately, no light was shed.  But I do get enjoyment from seeing my mom, who is both unassuming and evil at the same time.

My mom and I went to visit my grandmother Christmas Eve day.  (Is there an easier way to say that?  The day of Christmas Eve?  Because it was not actually Christmas EVE, as in the evening.  Gah.  It was Monday.)  After being there for a while, I noticed that my grandmother’s thermostat had a plastic lock box on it.  Like the ones you’d see in an office, or a school.  I asked my mother about this and she informed me this was the solution to my grandmother’s excessive use of the heat.  Apparently, her home was like a sauna.  Because she is old and is always cold.

But now her thermostat temperature is set to go down at night and go back up during the day.  I asked my mom what my grandmother did if it was night and she got cold.  My mother replied simply, “She puts on layers.”  I started teasing my mom – “Too bad, Gram, you’ll have to wait until sunrise to get warm.”  My mom laughed the laugh of the bitterly resolute and we carried on with our day.

Oh, are you cold?  Tough.

Oh, are you cold? Tough.

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My mom’s laugh was a lot heartier when I said, “I think my glasses make me look smarter.”  She laughed too hard actually.

And when I asked her when she was going to quit smoking, I did not even let her reply.  I quickly said, “Just say you are not going to quit so we can stop having this conversation.”

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By far, the most interesting revelation this holiday was the truth behind my mom’s incredibly long conversational pauses.  When I say “long”, I mean LONG.  I’ll say something that should elicit a response or I’ll ask a question and, I swear to you, the pause from her is endless.  I’ll eventually just blurt out, “are you listening to me?”  She’ll usually say, “yes, I’m listening…I’m just processing”.  No.  No, mom.  You cannot possibly take that long to process a reply to, “So, what do you need in the grocery store?”  I AM NOT ASKING THE MEANING OF LIFE.

Even her boyfriend finds this behavior maddening.  She does the same thing to him.  And he also accuses her of not listening.

I finally reached the breaking point and said to her, “You know, it is weird when you do that.  It is totally like you are not listening.”

Her reply: “Yes, I’m listening.  But sometimes…I’m not listening.”

I KNEW IT.

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Happy Holidays, y’all.

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Christmas Spirit, bitches.

I have decided that I am going to be festive this Christmas season.  IF IT KILLS ME.

I googled “Christmas spirit” to see what other things I could be doing to be spreading the yuletide joy.  I found this link.

I am going to make my own comparable list.

1)  How about not shopping at all for Christmas?  Or how about curbing that spending by a few thousand dollars?  Because nothing sucks the holiday spirit out of me more than people fussing over what gifts to get people.  Give people gifts all year long when you think of them – then we would not have this insanity every year.  Besides, frankly, fighting for parking and punching people in crowds is one of my favorite pastimes.

2)  It’s a great idea to be nice to people!  But this is not reserved for only at Christmas.  (Unless you’re me, and then avoid people so you don’t spit on them out of sheer spite.)

3)  If you drop money into the Salvation Army bucket, make it a folded bill of some kind.  One dollar bills are fine.  It’s just that, when you are coming out of the grocery store with a cart full of American excess, the tinkle of change dropping into a bucket makes you look like a giant ass nugget.

4)  By all means, do something nice for someone.  But again…this is not reserved for only at Christmas.  And make sure at least one of your nice things is to shut the hell up for once.

5)  Volunteering is great!  But I also want to suggest that organizations get their shit together and make it so that volunteering can happen around people’s lives.  I’d love to volunteer the 10-11am Tuesday time slot the American Cancer Society has available, but I can’t.  Because I have a job.

6)  Food drives are a great idea!  But I have always wondered why the drives don’t include asking people to donate can openers.  Would kinda suck to get a bunch of cans and have to bang them with a rusty hammer just to suck the stuff out of ’em.

7)  Christmas music is nice.  But, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, could the constant stream of holiday music in stores start later than November 15?  Because, by the time Christmas comes, the river of monotony has deadened my hypothalamus.

8 )  I am not sure what constitutes a Christmas movie, but when I watch “28 Days Later” I feel like there is hope for mankind.

9)  Regarding the suggestion to read “A Christmas Carol”: is it necessary?  Will reading it put us any more in the spirit than watching Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart, or Jim Carrey (to name only 3 of roughly 50+ actors) act it out?  I think not.  I am partial to the Albert Finney version, btw.

10)  Decorate your house!  And tree!  And your pets!  And put giant blowup stuff in your yard!

11)  See #1 above.  Please.

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