Friday, November 18, 2016

Down For The Count

It's that time of year again. The long nights and short days of winter. And oh yes; the holidays. The season when everyone is expected to be ecstatically happy. I'm not.

And let's just get this out of the way at the outset: I cannot stand Christmas music. I'm a music guy but one more 'Feliz Navidad' or 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' and I may poke out my own eardrums. Please, make it go away.

Having said that...I'm thinking of just abandoning the whole mess for this year. It makes me decidedly unhappy to be so obligated to be so happy. Sometimes it feels like people are just desperate to out-happy everybody else. The only real satisfaction is to score the hot new trendy thing on Black have the best lighting production...the biggest and best of everything. Competition is fierce to have the wittiest Facebook post...the most elaborate celebrations...the most vehement public display of unbounded happiness. That kind of joy is a requirement I just can't meet.

It's loneliness on steroids. It reminds me of how much I miss my friends and family. Of how much has changed. It's like I spent a long time away and everyone moved on while I was gone. I worked really hard to reconnect with people I've missed over the years but I realize they couldn't wait around. Phone calls go unanswered, texts go unread.

I wish I could tell them how hard it is sometimes to open up the window in my world. I wish someone would say, "Hey, haven't seen you in a while. Can I come over?" instead of me calling and sounding desperate. I wish someone would come looking for me someday.

But nobody wants to be around the Scrooge who defies the must-be-happy-at-all-costs season. I'm a third wheel nowadays as well so I spend much time alone...which makes me even more sad; which makes it less likely anyone will spend time with Mr. Gloomy. It feeds on itself and I haven't figured out how to make it stop.

And this along with the colder weather and longer nights leads to self-perpetuating crummy days. I spend the rest of the year trying not to look backwards but the holidays are supposed to be all about traditions. Traditions are memories in fancy suits that trip me in the dark and then laugh when I fall down the stairs. Traditions are another expectation that everything will be as it was and all will be well. More expectations I cannot meet.

So what's Wayward to do? Keep on keeping on I guess and try to slog through another two months until it's all over. There's some doubt that there'll be any time off from work this year anyway so the holidays may be a moot point. The carrier already announced that my train will run as usual on Thanksgiving and I suspect they may do the same thing on Christmas and New Years because the 'stakeholders' (a term I've come to despise but more on that later) and the operating ratio require that we work to create wealth for others at all times, traditions be damned. But I digress...

I really do wish everyone the best this time of year. Nobody should be like this I suppose but as the saying goes, "Somebody has to do it." And that's what I do.