American Shithole #40 | Christmas Tidings 2018
By Eric Wilson
The holidays are over for many of us; it is the day after Christmas as I write this — and not a day too soon.
I have read (and watched) more than a handful of 2018 in Review pieces in the last few days, and I must say, I am rather shocked. First off, 2018 isn’t over yet. Any other presidency and I would agree that it is safe to sport your end-of-the-year recap a week (or more) before New Year’s Day, but this is Trump.
Next Tuesday is a lifetime away with this administration; we could be recovering from, or bracing for, all manner of nightmares by then. For example, more kids detained in U.S. custody could die from medical neglect, right? I think that’s a safe bet at this point.
Which gives me a break from working on my end-of-days, er, year-end wrap-up, and affords me the opportunity instead, to rant just a little bit about the holidays.
Oddly, I love Christmastime, which may be weird for an atheist, but not uncommon. I have plenty of atheist and agnostic friends that love Christmas too. I have fond memories of the season, which I am sure accounts for more than half my favor for the yearly celebration — I mean, what’s not to like about holiday music, gift-giving, mashed potatoes (with lots of gravy), friends, family and the general merriment of yuletide cheer?
Here’s a few:
1. Airports. Whether you are arriving, departing, picking up or dropping off, travel during the holidays is a giant pain in the ass. All I have to do is go pick Ari up, and it pretty much ruins my entire evening both a few hours in front of, and a few hours behind her arrival. I’d offer to pay for the Uber, but then I’d look like a dick. Honestly, it would be worth twice as much as it would cost to me, just to not have to drive there and back on the day after Christmas in Vegas. How people cope with the nightmare of actually having to travel by air anywhere post 9-11 is beyond me.
2. Family. Unless you are one of the lucky few whose entire family is the bees knees, the holidays always bring old grudges and differences between family members to the surface. Heavens forbid you get stuck talking politics with Aunt MAGA. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to friends describe the money spent, the nightmarish travel and the unpleasant family encounters year in, year out. Every year, they are miserable and every year they go back for more. (This year a close friend confided in me that it would be the last year they do so. Next year, they are going somewhere warm — alone.)
3. Depression. For some people, this time of year is just a wrecking ball of confusion, anxiety and invariably, a deep, reoccurring sadness. Made all the more difficult I imagine, by the expectations of the season and loved ones. I think a whole helluva lot of folks could do with a change of habit next year.
For almost a decade now, I have spent Christmas alone taking care of the dogs, along with Ari’s sister’s dog as well. I don’t travel anywhere, so no need to get bent out of shape (or bent over) by the holiday traveling experience. No one comes to see me either — although I love seeing my mom and dad during the holidays, and they are always more than welcome. Finally, I don’t get depressed at Christmastime because I never have enough time to do whatever it is that I planned to do, and I always have a holiday queue of “feel-good” movies , television, reading material and other happy activities to keep me busy.
I love Christmas. Everyone goes somewhere else; I stay in the same place.
The majority of Americans get 0–1 vacations a year — including Christmas travel plans. Until we start treating each other fairly, with more vacation time, with more value across the board for all citizens, we probably shouldn’t waste what little vacation time we do have, being miserable.