Saturday, December 23, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot like...

The success of your own personal Christmas is incumbent upon many variant factors. One, the goodwill and cheer of those around you. Two, the number of responsibilities assigned to you in order to better orchestrate the parade which is our yuletide season. Three, the viability of your town's water and septic system.

You heard me.

The day before Christmas Eve is not a good day for the water to start coming out of your kitchen sink in a vaguely disturbing shade of tan.

This means:

1. No showers.
2. No running of the dishwasher.

3. No touching of the historical artifacts.

(No, that's only in The Chronicles of Narnia. Back up.)

3. You have to go out and buy lots and lots of distilled water.

This is after you go downstairs and root through the pantry and find that you do not actually have a great quantity of unflavored distilled water. You have a fair amount of strawberry-kiwi water, but that doesn't mean you'd want to wash your hands in it.

And you couldn't in good conscience give flavored distilled water to the dog, any more than you could give the new brown water coming out of the faucet to the dog, so you give the dog just plain old distilled water, which in its purity and refreshing coolness startles him so much that he regurgitates Kibbles and Bits all over the newly mopped kitchen flooring.

And the stupid beast can't just stand in one place and upchuck; he has to run away from you as you call frantically trying to herd him off at the pass, his flappy jowls hurling half-digested dog chow in a wide, swinging arc.

And, of course you're out of Swiffers, too, because the five-year-old child in the house just helpfully finished waxing two inches of the dining room floor with the last half of the box.

Not to mention that this unexpected reaction to the bottled water gives one pause to what immunities one might have acquired against the stuff we've been using and drinking without a care on a daily basis.

Okay...water and Swiffers. Maybe milk, too, but you can't buy too much, you remember, because the trunk of the car is already packed full with presents you've not had time to wrap yet. And though it may improve your posture, people tend to frown on it when you carry milk jugs home on your head.

Outside in the streets, as you drive to the supermarket, you observe a mighty river that flows in the gutters -- ah, a line has broken -- and the cars just drive around it. Hello. Irrigation at its best.

The supermarket is just crowded with the old people who sigh wearily and say, "I hate to say this, but when you get older Christmas just doesn't mean as much to you."

(If you hate to say it, why are you? What do I look like? Aversion therapy?)

"It's just another day, isn't it?"

Technically? Yes. Actually? No.

"Does it feel like Christmas to you?"

Is this the wrong answer?

Because if I grip my shopping cart more tightly and lean into the handle to deliver the rest of my stunningly forceful speech:

"Yes, it feels like Christmas! Why shouldn't it? My children have been sick all week, I've cleaned up puke and snotty tissues and played Parcheesi and Sorry and Boggle, everyone wants me to be somewhere right now and where am I? I'm at the supermarket buying bottled water because a water line broke somewhere and I started washing dishes in water that looked like coffee! Of course it feels like Christmas! Where in the hell have you been?"

...They're going to feel like they've missed out on something, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for that.