Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a gem of a conversation

pete:  you can use some rusty washers from my personal stash...

boss: you have a stash of rusty washers?!  

pete: of course.  when i'm out walking i just can't help myself from picking them up off the ground when i see them.

boss:  you've got problems.  

me:  ...and you're one to talk, mr. dead dog!   

boss:  so i own a couple of dead dogs....so what?  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

festive ramblings

if you know me you know that i'm loopy for holidays.  when i was a kid, despite not having a christmas tree in the house (and I promise that will be the only ex-jovie reference in this post!), come december 1st, i would wage my own subversive holiday by switching to red pen in my journal for the duration of the month.

it's that daily spirit, that anticipation of something (and yes, i know, something so arbitrary and meaningless, considering i am not religious and also considering i haven't the budget for lavishing gifts on people) that warms my heart throughout december.  it's walking through the red and white striped tents of the christmas fair at union square on my way to class from the subway (i'm speaking of a few years past on that one), it's buying hot apple cider instead of coffee, it's trekking out to far-flung brooklyn neighborhoods that go crazy with lights--and for the past seven or eight years it's been hearing the holiday music and the sound of a quick electric saw when one of my neighbors bought a christmas tree off the sidewalk opposite my apartment.

for all of those years i have been charmed and appreciative of the toothless french canadians who come with their truckloads of trees and strand of lights and camp out in their little security outhouse.  i buy a charlie brown tree from them early on and always cross the street on my way out of the house to walk through the smell of christmas.  that little stand has been a steady, underlying source of my christmas cheer.  when christmas is close and it gets really really cold, i bring them loaves of pumpkin bread and gingerbread still steaming from the oven.

i feel giddy with anticipation on the morning after thanksgiving when their 2x4 tree pens appear, ready to receive the trees.  and so it was last friday night that i felt concern when the pens weren't there by bedtime.  jade comforted my anxiety--or attempted to--by insisting they never came that early.  and i got crazy righteous and indignant, counting on my fingers the years that i have heralded their prompt post thanksgiving day arrival.

and here it is, december 1st, and still no toothless french canadians.  still no trees!  jade, with the concern and discomfort of a parent watching their child lose, inquired at the local bodega (that's deli for non-new yorkers), whose sidewalk the trees customarily grace.  dispute with the landlord, was the report.

my holiday spirit crushed over $100 in unpaid electrical bills and a mess of stray pine needles?!  say it ain't so!  but even more sadly, i think the economy plays a bigger roll in the decision not to return.  i noticed considerably fewer cuts on the electric saw in the past couple of years.  a christmas tree is a luxury item that's pretty easy to trim from your overextended budget.

and yes, i'm speaking frivolously here, i recognize that.  there are a lot more important things to be concerned about even in relation to this story than my childish desire for festivity.  but we think about those things all the time.  for now, i'm taking my distraction in a plaid santa mug full of trader joe's gingerbread coffee blend.  welcome december!