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December 12, 2005

Pass the eggnog, please. PLEASE. NOW.

My building has 52 floors and Corporate Job, Inc., only occupies about 25 of those. As luck would have it, I seem to be on the exact same elevator usage schedule as Jingle.

Jingle works for a different company in our building. This is good for two reasons:

1) Since she doesn't work with me, I can talk about her without fear of getting fired.

2) Since she doesn't work with me, I don't have to worry about her showing up at my desk and taunting me with her Holiday Superpowers, and me possibly strangling her with her own purse straps.

Jingle is the local Annoying Holiday Cheer Lady. She has earned her nickname because... she actually jingles when she walks. You may know her. You may have one in your own office or family or neighborhood. (If you are the local Jingle, Hi! Love you! Stop reading please!) She is the one wearing Christmas appliques and jingle-bell earrings the day after Thanksgiving. She wears socks with little Christmas bells on them. To work. These things are fine, cheerful even. But Jingle has a dark side.

She tells you how READY SHE IS FOR THE HOLIDAYS. She is SO READY in fact was READY LAST MONTH LAST SUMMER LAST YEAR!!! She tells you how COMPETENT AND PERFECT she is, whether you care to hear it or not. She makes you maybe want to rob a liquor store in a Santa suit.

I got trapped with Jingle in the elevator this morning. It was early. There were nineteen floors between me and freedom. Perhaps if I were quiet enough, she wouldn't see me? I tried to make myself rearrange atoms so that I would sink into the elevator on a molecular level, but I was unable to complete the metamorphosis before she accosted me.

She saw me.

She sized me up.

She pounced.

Jingle: Gooooooood morning! Well you look half asleep! I just can't get enough of this great cold weather! I just love the holiday season! Don't you!

Me: Yes. (whimper)

Jingle: (she zeroes in for the kill) So, got your Christmas shopping done yet?

Me: ... no?

Jingle: Oh, MY GOODNESS, you aren't one of those last minute shoppers are you? What a headache! I got all my shopping done months ago! And I sent out all my Christmas cards last weekend, and I'm all decorated and ready to just sit back and relax!

Me: I saw a John Wayne Gacy biography last night on TeeVee.

Thankfully, the elevator arrived at my floor and I disembarked before I talked myself into a restraining order.

I'm glad she's glad about the holidays. Really, I am. I'd just like it if she were maybe a little more silently-to-herself glad instead of aggressively glad.

The holidays are great on a conceptual level -- lovely giving and sparkle lights and happy happy and family and snuggles and hot drinks with brandy or rum. Or scotch. Or you know, whatever. I'm flexible. But there's the fact that while I am immeasurably blessed (I am), I'm also profoundly lonely and not so twinkly, with family far away and maybe having just sent the last of my Christmas Fund off to my lawyer. There is snuggling ... with four cats and a nice cabernet, which is ... fine. It is! Nevermind. I'm shutting up now.

Except... I am lonely.

And I hesitated to even say it out loud because all the magazines and talk shows and people on the internets tell us to fill up that empty spot! Do something! Take action!

I'm going to be doing all the stuff They tell you to do: volunteer, give to those less fortunate, drink a lot (hey, what? they don't tell you to drink a lot? really? are you sure?) but ... I am lonely.

And here is my secret: I suspect it is perfectly OK to be lonely. It won't kill you. It won't cripple you or give you scabies or make you unloveable. You aren't broken if you're lonely. There is no to-do list, no action item, no great sport or activity you can throw yourself into that will fill you.

Sometimes you are just lonely.

And that's fine.

Isn't it? Because without the times when you feel sort of sad and When-Harry-Met-Sally and microwave popcorn for dinner (again) and red wine and long cold nights, you wouldn't be able to truly appreciate it when you find yourself fulfilled.

For example, when I lived in the same house as my parents for all those many years, I did not feel quite so excited and happy and tears of joy to see them every time I walked in the door. Now that we live so far apart (and also maybe now that I am not a bad teenager with no understanding of the word "curfew" which I think is Latin and I do not speak Latin) I look forward to seeing them and get so excited just to talk to my folks on the phone.

Lonely isn't a bad word, it just feels like something we shouldn't be, something that we should instead seek to remedy THIS VERY MINUTE IF NOT SOONER, as if it were easy to fix, like a broken radiator or a sinus headache.

So... it's out there now. The sad underbelly of the holidays. This too shall pass. I'll survive. I will not get scabies. (Because if I got scabies I guarandamntee you it would knock loneliness out of top spot for things to be sad about. Or bedbugs. Or any bugs, really. I hate them all. Bugs! The gift that keeps on giving!)

Anyway. Big deal. I'm lonely. Feels better to admit it. Feels so good, in fact, that I'd like to go home tonight and be lonely and watch While You Were Sleeping and wallow. But...

I may never make it home.

I may never even make it off the 19th floor. I am terrified to get in the elevator because I know Jingle will be in there, and she'll be aggressively happy, and she wears a giant Christmas tree pin on her lapel that has blinking lights and plays music when you push a button ... and I have noticed that her purse has very, very long straps.

So much better for to strangle her with.

I'm just saying is all.


Posted by laurie at December 12, 2005 9:29 AM