My intense dislike of both torturous excesses of the holiday season and being forced to spend time in Connecticut with my deranged materfamilias are no surprise to anyone who has read this blog, so imagine my surprise at being able to honestly say that my Christmas was pretty fucking good.
It's nearly midnight as I begin to write this and this day has passed without emotionally-scarring incident; the slowly winding, full-torque dread that I had harbored since the disastrous Thanksgiving auto de fe was defused by a variety of factors, including my mom apparently having been exorcised by Father Merrin in what must have been a battle that would have given Pazuzu a run for his money.
The good vibes began just over a week ago when I was in my pal Hughes' neighborhood and ran into my much-missed, former-across-the-hall neighbor Tim Holden, who now lives right around the corner from Carroll Gardens'favorite Mickalicious tag artist/rap fanatic. We chatted for a few minutes outside of one of the area's mobbed-up establishments and Tim offered me a ride to Wesport on the 23rd (aka Festivus). Now as anyone who has had to endure the Tartarus-in-a-can known as the Christmas exodus from Grand Central Station on the Metro North rail line will tell you, being offered any way to bypass that nightmare-on-rails is a major score. Not only was I able to avoid the crowded trip into the city from Brooklyn via subway while loaded down with bags of presents(and a bagfull of nearly a month's worth of neglected laundry), I was also rescued from the half-hour-before-departure arrival at the station so I could ensure not only a place to store my luggage, but also a seat. Tim Holden, you are now on my list of people who are owed a serious solid (that's negro for "a major favor").
Tim picked me up at my happenin' Park Slope bachelor penthouse (read "slum tenament of a messy single guy who occasionally gets lucky") at 7:15 PM on Festivus, and we journeyed from Brooklyn to Westport via the incredibly backed-up highways and byways (including the Hutchinson Parkway, a route that I drive back and forth on constantly for the five years I was in college and the one year after when some of my pals were still there and I went to cruise for booze, drugs and insane college pussy; sadly, I barely remember it these days and only recalled the exit to Westport upon actually seeing the sign for it) and finally arrived at my mom's house by 9:30 PM. Sure, a trip that should take only just over an hour during optimal traffic conditions was stretched out to two-and-a-quarter hours, but that was to be expected and Tim and I had our first chance to hang out and talk for the first time since he moved out some months back; at least that's one thing that can be said for the annual holiday traffic standstill.
When I arrived at home, Tim took a bathroom break and then headed back up to his family homestead in Westchester (another half-hour's drive back toward New York, meaning that selflessly dropping me off in Westport added an unneccesary hour to his travels, thereby earning Tim yet more points!), leaving me to enjoy one of my mom's signature home-cooked meals, my mother's non-irritating behaviour, and the company of my dear friend Tom Petrone, a guy who I met at the age of twelve on the very first day of junior high school. He even surprised me with the CD "A John Waters Christmas" as a thank you for helping him sell off a bunch of old comic books for what resulted in $325.00 worth of store credit at a Manhattan comic book shop! Score!
The day of Christmas Eve was spent eating like a fucking pig, watching good movies on TV - including a brand new widescreen print of one of my favorite flicks from the 1950's, namely BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE - and actually getting caught up in the first wave of good vibes to flow in this house in a long time. I busied myself around the house, doing dutiful home repair and heavy lifting that my mom in her frail dotage is not capable of any more, and assisted in creating an elaborate paella dish that featured shrimp, clams, mussels, chorizo and chicken. Then my buddy Chris came over and hung out until the wee hours, and we watched the DVD that he got me for Christmas, DEVO-LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN.
Then came Christmas morning and I steeled myself for the yearly opera of histrionics and dysfunction, but it never came. Instead I was treated to a haul of fun prezzies (although I could live without "The Tao of Bada-Bing," a book of Taoist lessons culled from SOPRANOS TV scripts; too cheesy-gimmicky/TV cash-in for my tastes, so it will probably get "re-gifted"), more good vibes, a terrific breakfast of succulent ham and delicately scrambled eggs, a viewing of GOODFELLAS and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (mom loved both of them; she's becoming a born-again mobster and martial arts movie fan in recent years) and a dinner of spectacular standing rib roast. I then spent a long time burning CDs for a number of people and myself, and now I end the day by chronicling this day that definitely counts on my list as being something of a Christmas miracle, my own non-Christian leanings notwithstanding.
Needless to say, I am very content and it's a strange feeling for a Christmas day in this house; I honestly don't quite know what to make of it. The only way this Christmas could have been better is if I had a ladyfriend to keep me company tonight in the dark and cozy confines of my old room and share some flaming osh-osh on the queen-size foldout bed... Well, 2005 is just around the corner and things are looking up, so who knows what my fortieth year will bring? I have a good feeling about things to come, but wish my beige ass luck anyway.
Merry Fucking Christmas!