I’m not sure what happened. Maybe I miscalculated or maybe I forgot to pace myself, but I ran out of Christmas cheer a few days early. I think the main problem is that for the last five years, I’ve had a minimum of two weeks off for Christmas, and this year I got two days. So, for the better part of December, I’ve been preparing for my two week vacation without fully getting that that wasn’t happening this year. I began stockpiling books and movies. I thought about what I would buy when I had a few days off to go shopping. I’ve been spoiled, gone soft; I’m a bit of a candy ass around the holidays, and this year, that created a bit of a problem.
That’s how I ended up spending the Saturday before Christmas waiting in lines. I wasn’t the only one, of course, and as we watched some ladies explain all about the items they were returning and why, the older gentleman behind me grunted and said, “I don’t think anybody gets in a hurry anymore.” I smiled and tried to make a little small talk, but when he continued to complain, I politely began studying the contents of my purse. I wanted to tell him, “Look, it’s my fault I’m here this late in the holiday season. And if it’s my fault, then it’s probably your fault, too. The truly smart and/or impatient among us have already finished their shopping by now, and they wouldn’t come anywhere near this place.”
I knew that if I wore a holiday shirt, I could wear jeans to work on Monday, and suddenly the idea of wearing anything other than jeans seemed too much. I bought a shirt that said “Bah Hum Bug,” which seemed just right, and steeled myself to work the night shift. When I got ready to work in the computer lab that evening, I couldn’t help but notice a couple who had a poor concept of the term “inside voice.”