Sunday, December 10, 2017

What I've Learned

Last October, when I was feeling helpless about work and blue about my finances, I found that physical activity and putting someone else first made me feel better. That day, I got pleasure from the stationery bike and seeing Randi, Napoleon's "mom," engrossed in the book I'd given her as she sat on the corner, panhandling for change.

Today I put that theory to the test. I had an errand to run, and instead of sticking to the mall that's virtually across the street from home, I walked 15 minutes to the big grocery store. It was nice to be outside, to have Christmas carols in my headphones, to breathe fresh air.

I picked up what I needed to get. Then I thought about the cash in my wallet, the money I didn't spend last night because I didn't go out for tapas and sangria with Joanna. Why not put a portion of that cash to good use?

So I collected little things throughout the store for Caleb and Randi. Chapstick, cough drops, tissues, earmuffs, slipper socks and gloves. Pineapple chunks and a packet of tuna. An oversized candy cane filled with M&Ms. I put all of this, along with a $10 gift card and a like-new copy of Racing in the Rain that I got for free last summer at the library book fair, in a holiday gift bag that I had in the cabinet. I've also enclosed a little something for the homeless couple's cat, Napoleon. I'm giving him the heavy metal comb I always used on my beloved old Joey. I don't use it anymore, but I can't bear to toss it away. It makes sense to give it to Napoleon.

On the way home, I cut through the mall and stopped at the book store for a birthday card. I remembered the toy drive in the lobby of my office building. It's specifically for abandoned and abused children. Yes, I already gave to three other toy drives this season and yes, I am broke. But I'm so broke that an additional $5 won't really make any difference to me and this book might make a real difference to the boy who receives it. With the hurricane relief efforts on the news, perhaps Clemente's heroism will seem especially relevant. Certainly his talent and charisma on the diamond will appeal to some young reader. This is the kind of gift I like thinking of Santa handing out on my behalf.

All this reminds me that a movie, tapas and sangria are luxuries. Small ones, I grant you, but they are not on Mazslow's heirarchy, are they? And I must remember that I  chose not to see Betty and Will Saturday night. I have friends who care about me and want to celebrate the season with me. That, while sometimes life wears me out, I have a lot to enjoy and a lot to be thankful for. That I have heart and imagination to share.

I am feeling Christmas-y.

Sunday Stealing

Bah Humbug! 

TV show I loathe: Seinfeld

Movie I loathe: Anything with subtitles. I'm very lowbrow when it comes to foreign films.

Music genres I loathe: Classical and opera

Magazine which annoys me: National Enquirer. I enjoy trash on occasion, but the Enquirer is insulting to my intelligence.

Makes me cranky at restaurant: Slow service

Makes me cranky in public: People who take up too much space. You don't get two seats on the train unless you pay for two seats!

Makes me impatient at home: When the electricity or cable/internet go out

Makes me impatient at work: EVERYTHING these days!

Celebrity I hate: Patricia Heaton of The Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond. Shrill, unfunny and none too bright.

You're not even remotely likeable, or funny, or credible. Go away.

Music artist I hate: Eminem

I could NOT care less about: The HGTV celebrities. You know, those twins. And the couple from Flip or Flop who are getting divorced. Or maybe they quit their show. I don't know because I could not care less.

Blogger's habit that annoys you: I don't have one. If I don't like your blog, I won't visit it. Problem solved.

Feature on your blog you hate: If there was something here I hated, I'd change it.

Politician that you hate: Steve Bannon. What a hostile  jerk.

I just didn't want to

I don't know why I didn't go to our movie group Christmas gettogether. I just didn't feel like it.

Will, our moderator, chose an unusual holiday-themed movie this year: The Apartment. It's Billy Wilder, so it's funny and cynical. But it has a lovely happy ending. I've never seen it with an audience, so maybe it would have been fun.

But I just had a feeling that tonight wouldn't have gone well. Joanna and I were supposed to go out afterward to toast the holiday and that's what propelled me to get ready to go. While I was checking my makeup, my tummy started to gurgle and I thought, "Oh, this isn't good." But I had committed to see Joanna.

Then I got a text from her. She was going to skip this evening because she had too much work to do before leaving Tuesday for client meetings in New Orleans. I was happy for her, as I knew she was worried about money through year end. And I felt strangely liberated. If she wasn't going, I didn't have to go.

We agreed to celebrate the holidays after I get home from Key West. I was happy. I curled up on the sofa, under an afghan, and watched the 1970s Murder on the Orient Express (and fell asleep).

And now I'm not. My stomach calmed down and I was fine. I saw the "Oh, we miss you!" messages from Betty and Will and I wished I'd gone.

What's wrong with me? Do I have the holiday blues?