Observations from tonight:
People going to an office Christmas party are well-dressed (but not flashy), carry one present each, and look incredibly nervous. I saw about 30 of them tonight. They were being jovial at each other with dead empty dread in their eyes.
The satellite-provided music at the brewpub tonight was eerily perfect for someone of my age and background. It was the greatest hits of college radio from 1984 to 1987. What kind of radio station plays Prefab Sprout’s “Appetite” and Shriekback’s “Everything that Rises must Converge” in the same set in 2005?
At the chain bookstore, where I did not buy a thing, they of course had the whole front of the place devoted to Christmas books. One chunk of bookshelf was entirely given over to… wait for it… Christmas Mysteries. What the FUCK? I’m not sure how things are in your family, but around here if someone got murdered Christmas week we’d call the whole thing off, even if a sharp-eyed local Christian ladies’ sewing club solved the whole thing by the morning of the 24th. Take the tinsel down so we can just stare blankly into space, shaking. We’ll make it up to the kids somehow.
One of the clerks was hugely overweight, so much so that he puffed a bit and walked with the gait of a man whose knees are badly damaged. He had to help a young couple who looked like Vanguard-bots and who were very upset that they couldn’t find some Christian book about the essence of love.
I was gazing at the sad array of self-help books, most of which have titles in the form Stop ________! or _______ no more!, where the blank can be filled in with your unwanted behavior or emotion of choice: Smoking, Loving Too Much, Checking Things Over And Over, Leaving The House Without Pants, Putting Beans In Your Nose, etc. They were arranged in sections: General Self-Help, Addiction & Recovery, Dating. Then I saw a section labeled “Oversize”. Hmm. Odd euphemism for fat people. Oh, maybe it was for people who were “Big ‘n’ Tall” and included the towering as well as the obese? Oh, DOH! It was just the oversize books. Time to go home, substitute. Brain no work good.