This Time of Year

(Yes, I know I missed a week, and this one’s late, but when you read it you’ll understand why)

Cold and wet weather

Short days

Christmas

New Year’s Eve

I can’t stand them. I don’t like them, and I don’t enjoy them. You need to wear more clothes, and they need to be thicker and bulkier. You have to spend more time in artificial light, so it’s easier for your sleep patterns to get screwed up. And if you go outside, chances are it’ll be dark and you’ll feel as gloomy as the light. Then there’s the fortnight when everything grinds to a halt and you can’t get anything done ‘cos all the shops and banks and public services are shut, and you have to spend time with people you can’t stand and pretend you’re enjoying yourself, or you have no-one to spend the time with and you feel wretchedly lonely.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed Christmas. Probably sometime when I was a teenager, and before I went to university, which means it was more than half my life ago. I have a santa hat in black with “bah humbug” written on the rim – people think I’m being ironic when I wear it, and to a certain extent I am because only a chirpy soul would wear something so stereotypically disparaging of Christmas. I’m not being ironic, it’s a warning – be cheerful at me for too long and I’ll fucking cut you. But I’m often too depressed to explain the consequences when I wear it, and for some reason people seem to think that when I don’t wear it on Christmas Day I’ll be all sweetness and light. No.

And I’m not being a Scrooge, I’m not devoid of Christmas Spirit and so on. Peace and love and joy to all mankind, yay, go for it! Just don’t expect me to be enthusiastic about an event that I don’t “do”. Why should we make a special event out of something we should be doing all the time? And you know I’m not going to get you a present, so why make me uncomfortable by getting me one? Several of the people I expect (hope) read this blog know me from conventions and fan meets, and you’ve seen me enjoy myself, you’ve seen me kick back and have fun. I mentioned somewhere (have to find exactly where) that to me, conventions are holidays – the equivalent of a week in Rekjavik or on a Mediterranean island. Well, that’s when you have fun and enjoy yourself, not when everything’s shut and the weather’s crappy and annoying relatives are giving you useless gifts. If I have a reason to feel good, like being surrounded by like-minded people amidst events that cater to my interests, I will enjoy myself. For the last 20-odd years, Christmas has not been that.

New Year’s Eve is slightly better. I’ve had mostly good experiences with it, particularly when I was at uni. I went to uni in Edinburgh, a city which has the biggest (in the sense of most momentous or prestigious, not pure numbers) NYE party in the country, a party which includes a street party on the principal shopping street in the city. When I was there, I managed to get a ticket for it every year. I had no-one to go with, but that didn’t matter because on Princes Street, you were “with” the whole 100,000 crowd. I did bump into mates from college one year, and that was more fun, and I’ve spent a few NYEs since then in good company of one sort or another – but on the years where I’m not feeling particularly cheery, or have anyone to spend it with (like this one), it gets really really lonely and depressing, and I start remembering the bad parts of the good ones (like not being able to hear a thing at the ones in the club, or being cold and not talking to anyone while waiting for the crowd to pack out on Princes Street).

But mainly, to me, Christmas and New Year are just another day for me, albeit ones where society demands you do something special. No. Not me. I just want to to get it over with so the days can start getting longer and there’s less chance I’ll feel depressed by the weather, or catch a cold, or feel lonely, or have my sleep patterns messed up, and I can actually get something done.

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