Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Christmas is Killing Me!"

No, not me, I didn't say that. But a customer of mine on eBay did. She was the winning bidder for a Boy Scout compass for which the "winning bid" was less than $3. She'd waited to pay, as is often the case with such small items.

As is often the case with me for anything under $100, I'd gone ahead and mailed out her little compass to her. So I wasn't leaning on her, but apparently a lot of the rest of her week was and probably still is.

Yep, "you can get IT on eBay", including heartburn and holiday strife.

So if you read no further than this, please: If you are a relaxed person, please spread the wealth, your sense of patient calm and good cheer. If you aren't relaxed and of good cheer, take a seat and a powder. And keep your elbows to yourself, if you please.

People are shopping and shuffling and shipping gifts as if they had road rage. (I did go to the post office yesterday, so I know. Mailing stuff right now is a contact sport.)

This mania for a moveable feast of materialism is not exactly what Jesus had in mind (I'm guessing here, no special connection, believe me) when he made note of his own birthday, if he did. In fact, Jesus was probably not the sort of egomaniac to wonder how people would celebrate his birth in the centuries and millinia to come, though he did have his egomaniacal days, that's for sure.

I've got an eBayer upset with me right now myself. He "won" IT -- a used bicycle -- on an auction of mine on eBay a few weeks ago, even though I'd suggested to him near the start of the auction that the bike was a bit too big for him and perhaps also a bit funkier for his own comfort level. I could tell, even via e-mail, that his comfort threshold was low and that here was a grown man who easily felt threatened by the unseen, untouched, unmasted adventures of a used bicycle. I can't speak for the rest of his life. His home seem to have been immaculately conceived and is decorated like an antique store for dead saints. I delivered the bike on a Sunday afternoon, after he'd done all of his church goings on, and that seemed ironic to me. He was a gentle but shifty-eyed guy around who seemed to feel that delving into the adventure of eBay was like floudering in shark-infested waters. When I pulled up, he'd been cleaning his driveway with a toothbrush. OK, it was bigger than a toothbrush. I felt nervous and wary around him. I like the hunting and gathering, flea market lifestyle myself, living a bit more like this guy's savior than his hair salon (yep, you guessed it, dyed). Now Mr. Bike Neophyte wants out, and he is a major thorn in my SIDE. (Not in my crown, no crowns allowed here in the not-so-hallowed halls of ABN. Being on the staff at ABN does humble one. Or is that One? I'll leave the self-crowning to Monsieur Colbert.)

So, what churchy values is the Guy Who Got IT bringing to the deal gone wrong? Maybe some peculiarly American churchy values: watch out, there's them and us, the more you spend the more you save, get a good deal, get your deal done ASAP, before it's too late. Hmmm, sounds like the Christmas Crunch. He called me three times yesterday, telling me what is important. He is spreading a thin and pale threat of dread and self-centeredness, the antithesis to compassion, to patience, to what I wish the last few weeks of the year (and the first week of next year) were all about.

Now don't get me wrong, I like Santa Claus. The guy is whimsical, and I appreciate that. Eight tiny reindeer, I mean, what's not to love? And the other good thing is that some people are still whimsical about him and about the delicate and graceful rituals of it all. Good for them! But when it comes to Christmas, a lot is amiss in America.


Wednesday: My Wish List
Thursday: What I Am NOT Blogging About Until At Least January 8th
Friday: More about Christmas as a SEASON (Even for Secular Folk)

In the meantime, if Christmas is killing you or making you want to get smashed off your sled, think snow. Even in Tampa or Honolulu, think of the idea of snow or a lolling ocean. Think how good quiet seems. Peace is at hand if we make it ourselves. Turn off the TV and the radio in the car. Wherever you live, look up at the roof over your head. It's dry inside and at least a little more snug than it is outside. Look out the window. Sit in the dark with the twinkling lights.


At 12/20/2006 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Season's Greetings, from the Land of the Robots

- Davos Damocles


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