Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Calendar reality

I have a headache. I get headaches a lot. Tonight's headache had me reclining on the couch, a position I usually avoid because it invites a face full of stinky dog breath and the uncomfortable abdominal pressure that results from having a 15-pound cat atop what it believes is squishy, heated furniture (that sometimes dispenses food).

My right temple was pulsing to the point that I worried my eyeball would pop out of the socket. I tried to distract myself with thinking. Thinking. Thinking. I'm so good at it, yet it rarely turns out well.

I opened my eyes in a burst of panic. My husband's birthday is Saturday. When did that creep up on me? I have no idea what gift to give him. You would think that when you're married to someone, knowing what to do for his birthday would be intuitive, but it's not.

This thought led me to the anxiety-ridden realization that Christmas is like a month away. Again? Already? There are just so many people I'm not really interested in shopping for, and yet I struggle under the burden of expectation. I would bake cookies or pumpkin bread, but that would require, well, cooking. In a kitchen.

Ah, the holidays loom. The festive spending and sprinkling of credit card debt, the manufactured charm of winter scenes (who, exactly, has these charming winter moments?), the anxiety, the pressure, the complete lack of imagination that makes itself so obvious in gifts randomly chosen. I continue to be bombarded with catalogs from Omaha Steaks and Honeybaked Ham. No vegetarian can really articulate the special joy of leafing through page after page of glossy, full-color photos of meat. The Wolferman's English Muffin catalog, on the other hand, is nothing short of carbohydrate porn.

I don't want anything for Christmas. Every year I tell my family and boss this explicit request. Give me nothing, please. The greatest gift would be to stop the madness of feigned holiday generosity. Donate money to charity instead. Still, they cannot overcome the sense of obligation that forces them to buy Christmas presents. Lots of them. It is so unnecessary and so insincere.

I feel forced to reciprocate. That means a whole lot of shopping in the next 25 days (I have to ship it all, too).

In the meantime, though, I need to figure out what the hell I'm going to do for my husband's birthday on Saturday. He deserves better, no matter what I come up with. That I know for sure.


Spilling Ink said...

I have a really violent headache, too. I took something, but it barely even took the edge off. I wonder if it has something to do with the holidays. I hate them, you know. They just suck and I wish they would go away. Once the Christmas decorations get out of control and the stupid music is everywhere I go, I start to feel trapped. Really, really trapped, like there is NOWHERE to go to be able to escape the overwhelming foolishness.

Trish said...

Ah, my husband's b'day is Saturday too! We'll be going out with the in-laws (its own kind of Hell). I've already got his gift, but I forgot to have the kids get him anything. Well, I guess I'll have to think about that one!

May Voirrey said...

I eventually slept off the headache, but the holiday crap was still around when I woke up. I had hoped it would go away with the headache.

A radio station here has been playing Christmas songs 24/7 since Halloween. It doesn't get any more obnoxious than that, and that's one less preset I live in a city with plenty of bad radio already.

Lynn, I hope you find something to soothe your headache.

May Voirrey said...

If your kids come up with a good idea, please share. Our dog and two cats haven't done their shopping, either, and in an otherwise childless household, we do what we can to simulate a normal family.

Good luck with the in-laws.