Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Came Early

The company Christmas party was this evening, which means that at least I won’t get people lingering at my desk, casually wondering why I wasn’t going to be there. The idiot assistant to the fire-breathing Head of Department was the last person to ask the question, late in the afternoon as I was downing the last of a neglected mug of coffee that had been stewing for the best part of two hours. I told her that I would rather eat my own feet that go.

Now that’s over and done with, all it leaves is Christmas itself. I remember Christmas being special. I remember, as a young kid sprawled out on the living room carpet playing with freshly unwrapped toys, lost in the moment. And the past few of weeks I’d been wondering where it all went. I suppose the magic went away with age.

Some years the house would be filled with aunts, uncles and cousins we hadn’t seen for ages. The fault line appeared when my parents left home. I’ve been trying to remember where I actually spent Christmas Day the years they were abroad, before they were allowed back into the country. For the life of me, I can’t think of where I was.

One Christmas I spent with The One That Got Away and her parents who took more of a shine to me than she ultimately did. Christmas in Burbank was great because it was different. Even though the traditional roast dinner didn’t seem the right thing to have in such hot weather, we had an entertaining time as the apartment filled up with ex-pat animators from Dreamworks and WBFA. The next day we went to Disneyland.

Back home there was a Christmas with relatives where I immediately came down with whatever was going around at the time, spending pretty much the whole holiday laid up in bed, sweating it out the system and reading my way through Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels. Then, once my folks were back in the country, one year I went down with a young blonde lawyer I was seeing. Even though the house was big, the blonde was so vocal that we had to nip down to the beach in the late evenings for our trysts. Shame it was pebbles and not sand.

For a number of years since I’ve tried to find excuses to spend the time up in London, on my own. The last two Christmases, with everyone spending the day with my sister, her husband and their lad, were not exactly happy experiences. Mainly that was to do with what was going on in my life at the time.

The last couple of times I’ve travelled in to Central London on the weekend there were young kiddies getting on the bus, wowed by the who lead-up experience. One little girl was just happy to be on the top deck of a double-decker bus. Maybe I figured to try and see it all through their eyes.

Yesterday I sat down with the Head of Department to sort out my days off between now and the end of the year. The bitch hates me. It’s not just me, I should add. I try my best to be pleasant even though, really, there’s no point. With five holiday days to take, I gave her a list of dates about three weeks ago. Between then and yesterday she went around the rest of the staff finding out when they wanted off, leaving me with what was left.

When we sat down all I had in her book was tomorrow off so I could mean up with the usual crowd mid-afternoon for our Christmas drink. That was all I had. There was a long Sergio Leone moment where we just stared each other down. Finally she relented and gave me Christmas Eve off. Then, after a long silence she decided that if I worked New Year’s Eve, I could have the rest of the first week of January off for my troubles. The deal done, I later found out that when the head of Department is so angry with someone that she becomes incapable of speech and just stares at them. Obviously there are some things it’s better not to know going in.

Initially I had wanted this Friday off so I could head down to Devon for a pre-Christmas long weekend, then spend the day up here in London, cooking up a chili, playing Perfect Dark and maybe catching a few episodes of The Wire to avoid the vomit-inducing Doctor Who special. Pretty much like last year, in fact.

As the days went by I realised I actually wanted to go home for Christmas. This will be the first time in three years, I think. For a start, I really want a roast dinner. Overall, I finally want to spend time with family.


At 3:05 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

You wanna spend time with family?!?It's 'cos you're an old softy really. Big on the old. JOKING. Ah, youth of today, hey? We don't know we're born...considerably after you. OH MY GOD! Joking again. Really. Merry fucking Christmas, boom boom.

At 11:14 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Luce, I want to spend time with family because it's been too long since I've seen them. I want to see fields and trees and the sea. I want to walk up the river to the small churchyard and visit my aunt's grave.

And then there's roast turkey, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, mashed swede, Brussel sprouts, carrots, peas, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy.

And because I'm just getting so fucking tired of London.

At 3:41 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

Tell me about it. And I don't even live there. Don't get me wrong; I love London. But I would NEVER live there in a squillion years.


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