I just wrote something really funny and sharp and incisive. I trashed it.
It was about the biggest shopping day of the year coming tomorrow and it had smart stuff about Judean shepherds and people who point out pagan traditions and a bit on Julia Stiles, Vanilla Ice and Chef Rick Bayless that, in context, would have made you laugh.
But I deleted it, because this season, my wish is for something real.
The streets of my neighborhood are darker than usual at night. I expected a measure of snow by now, glistening little ice sculptures refracting streetlamps through the sky.
It’s still bright by my spot of Western, with neon stores and the big condo complex across the way. But the sky’s not crackling crystals. It doesn’t feel like winter. It just feels dark and cool.
I don’t want to be clever tonight. I don’t want to have wordplay. I just want to have enough skill to share this weird, awkward, Christmas-non-Christmas feeling I feel on a dark and cool evening.
I want joy and decorations and loved ones gathering together to sing songs we all know by heart, but no more tonight than on any other Thursday. I could be full of the Christmas spirit right now. I could just want to do karaoke.
The night is silent, I’ll be home for the holidays, jingle bells do in fact rock and, baby, it’s cold outside, although temperatures will start rising on Sunday with light rain expected through the week.
I guess it’s a long way of saying I’m not feeling Christmassy, but I’m not feeling bad either.
I wish for something real this Christmas, for either the love or hate that is my usual reaction to the season. I want to have Christmas joy sweep over me at thoughts of family and cookies or Christmas wrath at crowds and credit debt.
Instead, I just feel… fine. I’m going to have some freelance stories done ahead of deadline. I’ll be Christkindlmarketing at Daley Plaza and shaking my head at the lackluster holiday displays since Macy’s bought Marshall Field’s, same as every year.
I feel good, happy and wintery with all the trappings of Christmas but the mood.
You would have liked the other story better, the one that was funny and talked about Rick Bayless and was too clever by half to get anywhere near a real emotion.
But my Christmas wish, my dearest readers, was to write something I really felt. And, for however awkward and stilting and pensive these lines were, I got my wish.
They were real.