It's nearly Christmas. Wa-hoo. "Four more sleeps to go," as Nicky Campbell said, with I hope a touch of irony on the radio this morning.
We had our Secret Santa thing at work yesterday. Everybody gathered in one room around the Christmas tree exchanging cards and giving presents "from Father Christmas". And most of the people there were really enjoying themselves, or at least they seemed to be. I sat at the back of the room on the floor wishing I were drunk.
I want to be able to feel the "Christmas spirit". To suspend my curmudgeonliness or my reserve or my alienation or whatever the hell it is and join in with the party but I can't. I watch others working themselves up into the traditional festive lather and I just get bugged and depressed.
I thought it might be my age. The Grumpy Old Man thing. The only other person I spoke to yesterday who disliked the Christmas build-up as much as I do is twenty years older than me. But as I recall I always felt the same, except in my pre-teen years when it was all exciting and the wait for Christmas Day to arrive was torture.
Christmas has always made me want to run and hide. Pull a blanket over my head and wait for all this shopping and false cheer to pass.
It's probably, on reflection, down to love. Even in the middle of my last relationship, which creaked on for four years, we never spent Christmas Day together. That had to be spent twenty miles away, or whatever, with the husband and the kids. And all my other relationships have started after one Christmas and ended before the next one. I'm just a hard man to live with. And the women I attract aren't much easier.
This Christmas it's no different. No woman to share my Christmas bed. I'm beginning, actually, to be seen as a rather pathetic and forlorn specimen by the people I know--which I absolutely hate.
But I'm going to use this one differently. I've been knocking my head against the Buddhist mysteries for a long time now. This year I plan to use the seclusion I've brought on myself with my terrible karma to meditate intensively and really try to figure things out.
It may not work, but who knows. I've been a victim of the wayward bull (in more ways than one) of my mind for too long now. I want to stop it bucking and teach it how to walk sweetly through the grass. And then it will disappear.