Curmudgeon at the Holidays

So I'm a bad blogger these days, but there are reasons why. It is the holidays, for one. And I take the holidays seriously, or at least I've attached all sorts of behavior to them like not bothering with e-mail or blogs much if it all. During the term, I'm often chained to the computer. I'm one of those profs who makes it tough for everyone else because (during the term) I love e-mail and respond quickly to it. But when the term ends, I like to take some time away from it, checking maybe once a day. Maybe not at all. And this, it seems, has translated to blogging as well.

And now, having answered the complaints from students about their grades, the requests from colleagues for my holiday schedules, the demands of Christmas cards and trips to the airport, I am relaxing and generally doing my best to forget about things like (what feels like) my rapidly failing job search, my unprepared course for next term, and my third year review. I am trying to be positive, which is not the most natural position for me raised as I was to "hope for the best but plan for the worst" (don't believe me? see this). So I'm reading - yesterday I finished Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London" and starting Nick Hornby's "Slam." The hope is to read enough over the break that I forget about how I barely got to read anything pleasurable all term and, perhaps, to build a little cushion for the likely "not reading" that will happen next term. This urge also means that I must not be allowed near a bookstore under any circumstances.

My roommate is gone for a week, so I get to sit at home in my pajamas as much as I like and largely let my beard grow (though I suspect that I'll have to cut it off tomorrow). I can listen to music rather than watch TV. There will be much lying on the floor with my dog. Also I will watch many movies from Netflix (yesterday I watched many episodes of "The Wire" and also "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" which goes to show you that if you "Fatal Attraction" is a uniquely American fear). I'm also thinking of overhauling the blog a bit, as I should probably redesign my personal web page (something that's become a sad sort of holiday tradition and that perhaps there won't be the time for this year because....).

This year, I get to go home, though not actually at Christmas or New Year's - just after. The last two years that hasn't happened, so this year I'm trying to make a production of it, even if I'm not there for all the jingling and fireworks and whatnot. And I'm trying to temper that with the fact that my family has plenty of what they want and little of what they need (or so it seems to me).

The holidays are the one time of year that I really enjoy shopping, though that is more qualified than it would seem. I like shopping for people. I hate shopping where people are. I would be fine with this if I could carry (and occasionally use) a cudgel. People who complain about the cost of baby clothes while coming out of Baby Gap deserve what they get as do people who park their carts lengthwise across the aisles. But there's something lovely about having gifts appear for the person you're thinking of. It is almost enough of a thrill that battling for parking in a place where people feel you can park anywhere seems more amusing than irritating (seriously, kids, if there's plowed snow on both sides of a two lane road causing it to narrow to a lane and a half than you shouldn't park your car there - it shouldn't take an out-of-towner to point this out to you).

So things are good here. I'll try and blog a bit more. I've seen and heard about some memes that I might dive into, just because it seems like those would be more fun and relaxing and appropriate right now. We shall see.


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