Today I was the girl in the shop and on the bus, grinning to herself widely. I felt an unusual joy in purchase, a happiness in the unplanned, and overflowing joy at owning something I adore. I am a spoiled girl. I do not know how not to be a spoiled girl. I cannot shop for others without a little something here and there for me. It is part spoiling and part neurotic need. I dislike buying presents as I am ever convinced that the recipient will not like the gift. That I have gotten them wrong, so wrong. I have experience in this. Too many boxes and shelves and bin bags have contained the spoils of another who ‘knows’ me. They invariably do not. I am misjudged and I don’t know how to put it right. Worse, I fear doing it to others. I hate to force on people the need excellent manners when inside they’re just a little disturbed. ‘Yes, lovely, lovely, how could you possibly know…?’ I always get me right. Today I am the proud new owner of six more Almodóvar films – at least half of which I’ve not seen before. My goodie basket of Christmas spending joy overflows. My need to learn Spanish increases. I am all Christmas upped and overed and am ready to cocoon myself in my flat for several days or maybe a lifetime.
Aside from the pleasure of receiving or purchasing things that I don’t really need, I could easily sleep through the Christmas/New year period. I don’t believe in god or Christ or Santa (bloody) Clause or that for one magic day everything will be good and wonderful. People will go on lying and fighting and dying just as they do any other day. Families won’t heal like Disney movies just because it’s Christmas. The reindeer will remain without flight. I don’t see why we should make reindeer fly anyway. What will happen is that people will be forced into awkward social situations with people that they would rather not be social with. All our Addams relatives will crawl from under rocks or flake out from the woodwork and we will have to be polite and pretend that we care. We will have to attend hideous work functions where we all must get in the spirit. I am obviously a horrible person as I have so much difficulty getting into the spirit of an occasion that is filled with hypocrisy and the intense tackification of a belief system. Little as I like religion I cannot but be disturbed by people who require such fluffiness in their religious practices. Oh yes, it’s all good fun. And then, you know, someone loses an eye.
There will be work occasions that will make opening a vein seem not only nicely colour co-ordinated but also the most pleasurable thing that can happen right at that moment. No office function can possibly be without the sort of social politics so enjoyed by the mundane minds of middle managers. They will martyr themselves on table setting and immolate themselves on a turkey/ham/pork alter. And we must be appreciative. And be involved. And enjoy the monumentally painful process of speeches and false laughter and enjoyment and the agony of the Kris Kringle. Studies should be undertaken and essays written on the torment that is the Secret Santa. It should be banned as a form of cruel and unusual torture. I would settle for simply banned.