Контент 16+ Being now relocated in Bulgaria, the time has come again to celebrate Christmas on 25 December, just as I did all my life before I went to live in Russia. To tell you the truth I am elated. As a so-called ex-pat (God I hate that term), I can truthfully say that I never missed Thanksgiving and Christmas all that much; in fact, there were years when the calendar just shuffled by and I didn't know that these big days had arrived until some Russian student would wish me a "Happy Thanksgiving" or a "Merry Christmas." I would always react with...alarm almost. The hell you say? I had forgotten...
Some of the ex-pats no doubt hung out together, and of course, the Big Bird (turkey, in case you're wondering) was baked and a lot of kisses were exchanged under the mistletoe. I just said Fuck It, I am in Russia. I have never been one for half-measures. The idea of pretending I was back "home" celebrating Christmas was about as spiritually satisfying as a wank in the shower. Besides, "back home" never was back home for me.
And yet, which proves that my cynicism is just a bullshit cover-up for some whatever immature defense mechanism in me, I found myself joyously going shopping for a Christmas tree and decorations with my wife yesterday, and it rekindled the old appetite. For one thing, the big store was packed with Christmas shoppers, and everybody actually looked happy. I was as happy as the rest of them.
But tonight one of my skype students asked me a question which I might have expected but didn't. He asked me if it was a real tree or an artificial one. I hemmed and hawed and finally allowed that it was...ok,.. artificial, but that it looked real. And I suddenly remembered -- remembered like an abrupt palpitation in the heart -- how it once was, back during my childhood when the very idea of a fake Christmas tree would have been jeered at if not regarded with outright horror -- the same way that breast implants were once mocked and treated as a grotesque form of comedy.
But the fake tits got better once the dexterity and resourcefulness of gel was discovered, and the same is true of Christmas trees. The damned things look REAL, man, and I ain't lyin'.
But of course they AIN'T real. They are really no more than Christmasy umbrellas. Or Yuletide blows up Dollybirds which you can buy at Santa's Sex Shop. Inflate them, have your fun and, then, c'mon girl, back in the box !! And Happy New Year!
Yeah, I remember those days when the Christmas tree was real. We bought them off a lot somewhere, stuffed them into the back of the car (man, those bristles were rough) and took them home. They were never symmetrical, and we needed to screw them in very tight into the metal brackets on the floor -- this always involved at least one person holding the tree which the other one slithered around underneath with a screwdriver. It was sort of like changing a tire in bad weather. But when the tree was standing up, you could smell the scintillating pine needles, and you felt as though the forest had entered your home. Decorating the tree was a rich tradition. Bulbs, strings of sprinkling, flickering lights, and the tinsel that we called 'icicles'. The effect was mesmerizing and when the presents had been spread all around beneath the tree...well, it was the most blessed time of childhood. And, if you were a kid, the time went slow...until, finally, it was Christmas Eve.
And then came Christmas morning. (Ringing of Bells !) And then came Christmas Morning!. And then came CHRISTMAS MORNING!!!. Yessssssss ! The dawn awakened like a fabulous fire drill or a call to some enchanting prayer which had nothing to do with a god, much less a punitive one. It was a morning of Light. The morning of rapture. At least it was so if you were lucky. I mean, if you were born well and not to a family of villains and heathens,
Back then it was a new football helmet (this was America remember) and a bicycle perhaps, The rest of the gifts depended on what you liked. I liked books. But always shirts and socks from your grannies and uncles and aunts. But still......
All was well then until 1 Jan, New Year's Day. Amid adult hangovers and college football, the tree had to be taken down. Of course, because it was a real tree and not a false one, there were plenty of dead pine needles everywhere (even constituting a fire hazard if you weren't careful), and the tree was of no use anymore-- it couldn't make a comeback next year. It was kaput. There was a sadness, you know, in putting everything away and dragging the tree out of the house for the garbage men to take in their trucks whenever they went back to work..But what fun it had been !. What fun, even with the few inconveniences.
At a certain point, however, one of those damned years... the artificial trees began to appear, and at first, we laughed them off, and smirked and goofed at the lazy, shallow people who bought them -- the same people who bought fake flowers and artificial fruit. I mean, who would want to bite into a wax apple? What could a plastic rose possibly smell like, except plastic?
But, like a lot of things, such as internet-dating, lip implants, robot vacuum cleaners, and drones which can bomb villages halfway around the world at the command of a video game geek-equivalent in Texas -- you kinda get used to it. And the next thing you know, they are everywhere, like microwaves. And though you reminisce about the good old days when you actually had to get up out of the chair to change the TV channel, you finally start to think about the negatives of that 'hallowed' era. (Yes, by God, I DID have to get up out of my easy chair Why'd I have to do THAT?.) And then you caress that remote control almost as if she was a Dollybird from the sex shop. And you recall that, OK, maybe the rivers were clean back then and the air was something you could actually see through, but think about all the bullshit, huh?? All them kids with polio and the chicken pox, and, and, and....and all that Shit, and......
"Yes," I admitted to my friend. "It's artificial. But it LOOKS real."
And it seemed that both of us were satisfied with that explanation.
Whatever, I will have Christmas on 25 December and my friend will have his on 7 January. If Christ really is the son of God, no doubt he can arrange to be born on both days, and so we will all be very happy indeed, won't we?...
===Eric Richard Leroy===