I am spending Christmas Day alone. Before you drown out the Christmas carols with the sound of a thousand tortured violins, please be assured that I am happy about this, nay, delighted. I am delighted to be spending Christmas alone. Except, I’m not alone, because there are more than a few of us out there doing our own thing on our own, but together, alone. If you know what I mean.
I’m looking forward to my Christmas Day pour une. I don’t always look forward to the festivities, and that’s because other people and their pity get in the way with their “oh you can’t possibly spend the day on your own, I shall be miserable just thinking about you!” – well, “you” might be miserable, but I certainly won’t. The fact you may not be able to tolerate your own company doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy mine very much, thank you. Quite frankly, the fact you can’t stand your own company reaffirms why I might do very well to avoid it too.
Christmas is a time for spending with your family, or so I’m told. In fact, I was told just this morning by the dear security henchman outside Evil Corps Towers where I work. My reply to him is my reply to all of you – why, when I have spent all year avoiding my beloved relatives would I choose to be trapped with them now? Every waking day I am free to live as I please and to be the vulgar, tasteless disappointment that I am, so what earthly pleasure could I possibly derive from being trapped (quite literally, thank you Christmas train timetables) in a stress-filled environment that requires all the tact, decorum and fortitude of an unconscious nun?
But what about the children? What about the sharing and caring? And well you might ask. I share and care enough of the year, on days that suit those I care and share with. As for the children, well, I was sensible enough to choose not to have any of the little blighters, so I don’t see why I should be made to suffer other people’s when they’re smacked up on chocolate coins and gift wrap fumes.
My fridge is stocked with the exactly what I wish to find in it – no compromise on what cheese “we” have, no unexpected missing last of anything. My TV schedule has but a few things circled and before I watch each one, I shall breathe in the moment of pure silence, devoid of bickering or grandparental rank-pulling. I may be drunk by 09:00 and napping by noon – I may just stay in bed until the sheets are thoroughly soiled; after all, it’s my day to do with as I see unfit.
All those who gleefully packed their overnight bags and headed “home” – I ask you, where do you live the rest of the year? Do you hop about aimlessly on potting shed roofs and behind bins? Hang on, that’s pigeons, isn’t it. Anyway, my point being, home is where I live and where my mother lives is her home, and somewhere I have never taken dirty laundry. I hear you all now, suffering the garish bed spread on the single lumpy mattress in the draughty spare room – weeping into your pillow as you’ve been denied more than a thimble of Baileys (the rest is for when Aunty Beryl gets here and don’t you think you’ve had enough?!) and told in no uncertain terms that your 38-year-old boyfriend must sleep in the living room with the cousins.
Not more than half an hour after arriving”home”, the realisation that your independence has been severed and your internet access more so, you’re hanging off cliff edges furtively sneaking out a few swear-riddled text messages and smoking the cigarettes you promised you’d quit 4 years ago. Meanwhile, I shall be asking myself if I would like another chocolate from the selection box and oh look, all my favourites are still there.
Before you go assuming this is some brave face painted atop the gloom of a lonely soul, I promise you I did have invites, some more desirable than others. The less desirable were steeped in pity, eager to save me from a fate worse than enjoying myself so I could sit among a family I barely know, whose traditions and lively intimacy leave nothing but the chill of alienation. Thanks, but I’d rather spend the day face down in the gusset of a particularly unsavoury tramp. As for the more desirable offers, well, quite frankly, I lied like a cheap watch so I wouldn’t have to share my cheese.
Anyway, I won’t really be alone. Whilst gorging on gourmet cheese and guilt-free smugness, I have a cat to torment.