Thursday, December 10, 2009

Always Wear Condoms in March



It was a brisk 4 degrees when I left the house this morning. That’s up from -3 last night when I took the kids to pick out a birthday gift for Jim. And the stores were still packed. It occurred to me as I was shuffling my kids across the icy parking lot (and I’m convinced they have a negative body fat percentage), that people should absolutely never have unprotected sex in March. Because not only is shopping for anything in December other than Christmas/Chanukah gifts just ridiculous, how fun is it to celebrate yourself when that celebration is crammed up against another major holiday? Anyone I know whose birthday falls around this time of year has always complained that they feel short-changed. You know, having your birthday gifts arrive a few days after the fact wrapped in snowman paper (“Sorry, it was easier just to mail everything together.”). I’m so glad my parents had the foresight to get busy making me in November so that I could celebrate myself in July.

I’m just going to say this now and get it out of the way. Someone from Belgium visited my site last night and I did not get a flag. I’ve considered writing NeoCounter and voicing my disdain, but I’m not sure I can find the proper tone to complain about what is basically a free widget. So for now I’ll just say this: BELGIUM, COME BACK!!

Celeste, since I inserted the above paragraph after the fact you may note the lack of transition taking gentle readers from flag widget to Chanukah.

And speaking of Chanukah, I dropped off some gifts for one of our clients (we’ll call him Fred) on the way into work this morning. We have a program where I work (a social service agency) where we distribute gifts around the major holidays to needy families. I had planned on just dropping off the box of gifts and heading out, which is what I always plan, and which is never what happens. You would think I would learn. Fred was an elderly gentleman (they are usually elderly) and he invited me inside (they usually invite me inside) and so I came in. He lived in a mobile home and it was small and excessively warm and thick with cigarette smoke. A golden retriever (we'll call him Scooter) greeted me through the haze of smoke. Fred started rummaging through the box (what do we have here?) and shaking a few items and motioned for me to sit. It occurred to me that he wanted me to stay while he opened the gifts. But first he showed me a few pictures: Scooter in a tuxedo, his granddaughter and here, his son. There’s a cat in here, too, somewhere, where was that cat? The cat was shy. Didn’t like strangers. I wanted so much to stick my head out the door and take a deep breath, even if it was cold enough to freeze my lips.

The only significant things in his place were a well-worn couch, which appeared to belong to the dog, and two computers. And you just knew that that was his world—the dog, the cat and the computers—pretty much in that order. He opened the gifts. There was a book on dogs, some toys for Scooter, some oven mitts and kitchen towels and a box full of gifts cards to local stores (including a pet store). Whoever had put his gift box together apparently knew him pretty well--probably a case manager. He told me about his neighbor who was supposed to come by and salt his steps, how his COPD was acting up (no shit) and how Scooter was really too old for toys. We chatted for a bit and then I wished him a happy Chanukah and picked my way down the ice-covered steps.

As I was about to open the car door he called out: Is that really your last name? I paused. It then occurred to me that when I called last night to get directions, the caller ID must have shown my husband’s last name: Christmas. Yes, I said. When our agency was looking for people to sponsor families we had joked about this, how someone would feel about having the Christmas family sponsor them for Chanukah (the answer is grateful). Isn’t that something, he said.

It’s such an odd feeling, wanting to leave and yet not wanting to leave. I felt uncomfortable in this man’s home. I didn’t know what to say to him, a stranger. I didn’t want sit in his too warm house and breathe in his acrid smoke. And yet. There he stands, alone, and here I step into my car, and drive away. And there are so many Freds in so many tiny rooms in so many cities across the world. And this holiday I wish that for every Fred there is a Scooter. Because a man and his dog is a beautiful thing.

And you know what else is beautiful? Obama’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, in which he graciously acknowledged that he hadn’t really done anything to deserve it. Because so much cockshit has come out of the mouths of U.S. Presidents of late that it’s nice to hear some gentle truth. And maybe this president can undo some of the damage to our international reputation (keep talking Big O, it’s a long row to hoe).

Protected sex in March. That’s another beautiful thing. And the Belgian flag. That’s one seriously sexy flag.


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13 comments:

  1. I'm a November baby. There is 6 weeks between my birthday and Christmas and that's just enough time to separate them. My son however, he is a mid-January baby. We'll see how that goes for him as he gets older.

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  2. My son is a mid-January baby too (just because I accuse others of having no control doesn't mean I do -- of course, he was born a month early)!

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  3. my other half is a January bday and has always felt ripped off. I am a June Bday, and it is 2X a year where his is lumped together, as a result I go to extra special lengths to make his bday separate and special.

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  4. That didn't come out right, did it? :-P

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have 2 Decembers, 11 & 14, guess who wasn't wearing a condom in March?

    But we never lumped the bdays in with Xmas, not even with each other, always separate.

    KB, look for FlagCounter:
    http://s05.flagcounter.com/more/77Wk
    That'll catch your Belgian flag...

    AV

    ReplyDelete
  6. But if I start over with a new flag counter, won't I lose all the flags I already have?

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  7. Yes, but now you have two, it won't take long to build up.

    I have also posted on Mayotte on Tomus Arcanum:
    http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/

    Linked you there as well.

    AV

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  8. I see you have a Maltese flag now, Zen said she'd popped over.

    AV

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  9. I have a friend in Belgium as well. I will see if I can get her to pop over for a visit.

    I think I have a thing for your flags. Oh dear. Flag envy maybe?

    I am a February baby. yay

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  10. I got your Belgian flag Kim!! Smooch!

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  11. There. Bringing you the Belgian flag. Kim told me I needed to find you here? There is one in there now, but I'm not sure it's mine ... or the one from last night? Widgets CAN be a little slow sometimes. Hmm.

    I'm an October Libra.

    So this must mean my parents didn't wear any whatsoever when they made me in January?

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  12. Thanks Jientje! Yes, that was you who brought me that beautiful Belgian flag. My daughter is a Libra baby--January is a great month to get busy!

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Mmmm, comments - nom, nom, nom, nom!

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