The Holidays: Cancel the Whole Thing

El 23 de diciembre de 2013.  Hola. As a child, I looked forward to the holidays. Then as an adult, I began to see the holiday season for what it really is: just one big corporate commercial event of having to buy stuff—because people you know expect you to—and having to get together with family I didn’t really get along with as an adult. So I stopped buying things and started making things such as cookies or brownies (no box mixes). That seemed to be appreciated.

This year in San Francisco, the holiday season began at Halloween, which seemed a little early. That’s when some people started putting up their holiday lights and trees. Some of us wondered if the people doing this were connected with retail and trying to get people in the mood (early). I’ve never seen it that early before. I can’t imagine what those tree looks like about now, other than a fire hazard and needles all over the place. Many people in San Francisco pretend to be “green” yet don’t have the “green” intelligence it seems to buy artificial trees that they can use year after year, if one must have a tree. Instead these “green” San Franciscans buy a tree each year that’s been killed and put it on the top of their status-symbol SUV with the tree in a plastic bag. WTF? (Note: Trees aren’t in a plastic bag where they grow so why does a tree need a plastic bag around it when it’s on top of a vehicle?).

What prompted me to write this is that I overheard a conversation recently while waiting for the metro. On the metro platform near me while waiting I heard one person say, “they should just cancel this entire holiday shit because it has become so meaningless. It’s just a buying spree for anyone who has any money. Then you have to get together with people you can’t stand. I know when I walk in that door on Wednesday I’ll say to myself, “oh there SHE is. Wonderful. This is just going to be so much fun and she’ll have to go on about what she made and do a show-and-tell to everybody with everyone’s attention on her. La muchacha demands attention. Then at the dinner table she’ll have to act like a server. She’ll say, “Have you had any of this? How about this? I made this. Don’t you want some?” Meanwhile I feel like saying to her: Shut up bitch and eat. I can see where everything is and if I want something I’ll get it. If you want to be a server in a restaurant go apply for a job as one. I’m sure I’m not the only person there she annoys. But of course you can’t say that although I’d love to.” Then the other person she was waiting for the metro with said, “Uh huh, I hear you. Mine’s the same way. I’m not looking forward to that either. Just thinking about it gives me diarrhea.” The other person said, “Well sometimes there’s at least one person there I can hang with and relate to and maybe that will be the case this time. I can hope. (She continued and I was finding her interesting to listen to): Why don’t people just combine these holidays and do just one? Everyone just looks at each other having seen each other about 4 seeks ago (she meant on Thanskgiving). I feel like saying, “Didn’t we just do this? There’s not much to talk about since we just saw each other a few weeks ago. I know, let’s talk about what offended us the last time we were all together. I’ll start with you. Why don’t we just have one dinner rather than this two or three dinner thing?” (Me talking now:) But that wouldn’t go over. No, la muchacha it wouldn’t go over because of this fucked up “it’s tradition” caca.

So there were at least two people not looking forward to this “Season of Joy” bull shit. And from what I’ve noticed out and about it ain’t much of a “Season of Joy” for many people. The anger, irritation and annoyed level seems to be at a high level at the moment. I’ve noticed out on my bike rides some anger from San Francisco residents and some was directed at me for riding my bicycle very slowly, cautiously and respectfully on the sidewalk. Yes, some busy-body asshole had to tell me, “in the street not on the sidewalk.” (I felt like saying: Oh fuck-off). I just ignored the troll, in part, because I do the opposite of what someone wants me to do in that context. This was at night and it was much safer on the sidewalk especially considering the street was torn up with street construction but I guess this busy-body troll didn’t think of that before he trolled me. So I just ignored him and continued on the sidewalk where I will continue to ride because it’s safer and smoother on the sidewalk. The rough streets in San Francisco are not to be believed with potholes. More anger: Then an amigo of mine said on his bike ride the other morning that there was a lot of rage in the air and some car deliberately tried to get a rise out of him (another troll) but he ignored them. (Good.) Yes, there are a lot of troll motorists out there and San Francisco is no different especially as this city becomes a city increasingly for the snooty (angry) wealthy who think only they should live here.

So what happened to this “joyful” season of “peace and love?” Phew! That’s long gone.

Then after Navidad (el 25 de diciembre) many people will take down their decorations even though there are 12 days of Navidad going into enero/January (Epiphany begins on the 6th of January) which most people seem oblivious to, even those who sing the song about that. Frankly, I don’t think many people have any clue what they’re singing about when they sing that song. Then the next holiday in this Holiday Season is New Year’s which is essentially a time for many/most people to get drunk and wake up sometimes feeling awful.

Then I overheard one person telling another that they were buying them a gadget for the holidays. That was a rather explosive conversation on the sidewalk while waiting for Muni (our public transport system in San Francisco). I didn’t expect the response which was (as close as I remember it): Why the fuck would you do that? I appreciate the gift-giving idea, but I’ve been talking to you for months about this tech shit and how the tech industry is ravaging San Francisco with evictions and other things, and it’s all connected with these gadgets and apps, so I’m just wondering what’s going on in your head? Have you heard nothing I’ve said to you for months? The other (clueless) person looked shocked and said “okay!, well I won’t follow through with that idea I had just thought (interrupted by other person”: You had just thought without remembering anything I’ve told you apparently. Have you not heard anything I’ve said over these months about tech, techies, gadgets, smartphones (that’s oxymoron) international spying, gadget addiction…, (I didn’t catch all of it). No, if you gave me a gadget I’d throw it in the trash or sell it. I don’t want one. I use a real computer when I need one. These gadgets are the problems.” That was the end of that heated discussion. (I agreed with the person who didn’t want a gadget. I wouldn’t want one either. That person was correct in everything they said and that’s a pretty close transcript of what the person said. I was surprised at how well informed she was on the techie topic.)

An absolutely wonderful holiday season isn’t it?!

The one thing I do enjoy about this time of year are the coloured lights and light shows. Why not leave them up all year and keep them on? Most of them are very pretty…excluding the sterile cold-looking, clear midget variety which looks very corporate and uninteresting to me. But for the other lights, leave them up instead of having them stuck in a drawer or closet the rest of the year. What’s wrong with having coloured lights up all year? (Answer: Nothing.) Some people leave the clear lights up all year here. Putting coloured lights away doesn’t make any sense to me. I do think taking lights down causes them to deteriorate especially if there are heat extremes (in an attic or closet) during the year which effect the wiring.

One local San Francisco business (see video on the right) has had their color-changing light show on their awning for over 2 years and on every night. It adds a lot to the building and to the barrio and is pretty to watch. Those lights have well gone past the expectation of how long they would work according to the manufacturer. They’ve only had to replace 2 of the 4 sets and only because the 2 sets got out of sequence and started doing their own “show.” But no bulbs burned out. Yet people who put lights up for the holidays and then take them down don’t have that same experience it seems. From reading online reviews, it seems that many people have to buy new lights every year or every-other-year. I do think leaving them up and turning them on (at least occasionally) helps to preserve them because of less temperature extremes (which might not make sense to many people, but that’s what I’ve noticed). At least that’s the experience of this bar/restaurant that leaves their LED light show up all year and it’s on every night.

Unfortunately, this holiday season shit will continue whether people enjoy it or not because it fits into the brainwashed category called “tradition.”

Oh, and I don’t want to forget this: Then there will be those who MUST absolutely go to church (“Midnight” Mass, el 24 de diciembre) even though they never go to church/Mass any other time of the year [roll eyes], other than maybe at Pascua de Resurrección. Chau.—rosa barrio