Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas. Ho ho ho.

Christmas looms ever larger and this year, more than ever before, I feel ambivalent about the whole thing.
I am, I have finally admitted, a pretty unsocial creature: I enjoy my own company, I enjoy reasearching and writing up my PhD, I enjoy a routine of sorts.
I dislike banale conversation - the sort that erupts as people flap their gums to fill the silence, I dislike the mindlessness of television and I dislike chaos.
That's not to say that I sit here surrounded by pencils in a neat row, or that my books are alphabetically lined up on the shelves. Not at all - my 'study' (ahem!) is a model of lawlessness, but it is my lawlessness. Similarly, the plates that are on the work-top in the kitchen, the breakfast pots, are mine. I am not uncomfortable, because I can lay my hands on any volume I like within moments and I will either use my crumpet-plate for my lunch or stack it in the dishwasher.
I can't cope with mess that isn't mine, and there's a lot of it about at Christmas. But if I were to say that shoes and glasses and crumpled paper strewn about made me feel uncomfortable, I would, quite rightly I suppose,be accused of being uptight and pernickety, and lacking festive spirit.

Through general boredom, I also tend to drink rather too much at Christmas - not get steaming drunk, but generally end up feeling below par and somewhat self-disgusted. Ditto eating.
I feel, once the schools close and the Husband finishes work, that I enter a sort of limbo, and I think a lot of people feel like that. Speaking to others it would appear that the first week of Januaryrepresents a real epiphany (no pun intended) and the refrain, spoken with a sigh of relief, is that indeed it was lovely, but it's nice to get back to normal.
Yea, it is that normality that I miss at Christmas. You see, because I work at home, I guess that I subconsciously feel that the house is my territory, and I resent people camping on, and sullying, my patch (yes, I know, how selfish and crass of me, I know it's their home too and I love them all dearly).
I also dislike intensely the expectation that I am responsible for feeding people ("What's for tea?" "You tell me!"), and am slighly nauseated by the constant munching that accompanies Christmas. I do love eating, but not really at home. I am bored by my food, and by the whole process of shopping/cooking.I resent it immensely. And I hate going into the shops and seeing row upon row of coleslaw, mince pies and Quality Street leering at me.

I am depressed by the whole grubby house/home thing which I can ignore during most of the year, but deprived of any mental stimulation, I tend to notice smeary windows and cobwebby corners and feel intense hatred towards them without any motivation or desire to do anything about it.

So I will end up feeling bored, grumpy, slightly ill and resentful. Not a good combination, and not one conducive to cheery fireside evenings.
Every year I scrabble around in an attempt to preserve my sanity, and this year I have a little side-project lined up: to get to grips with the ideas and works of Galen, the Roman physician.
Whether this will prove to be absorbing and fruitful remains to be seen: what I really need are some totally noise-cancelling head-phones so I can block out the TV, but remain, semi-socially, in the room. I am not hopeful.

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