So that was Christmas… and what have I done?
I’ve been the same spectacular waste of space that I am the rest of the year.
On the plus side, I’m not currently hiding under the covers, I’m still getting by without medication and I’ve not behaved scandalously.
On the down side, I have been inches away from a total melt down, I’ve over indulged and I’m facing another year of being a directionless mad man.
Mrs Viper, the Viperinos and myself went to the Dowager Viperess my Mother for Christmas Eve. We were all on our best behaviour. We stayed away from the topics that might send my Mother into one of her rages (topics like politics, money and Len Goodman). We took the kids to the children’s service at the local Church. Both of my little ones enjoy the Nativity Story and we’ve had interesting discussions about whether it’s true. My six year old has declared that she believes that it’s true, but she also believes in the Greek Gods, the Viking Gods and a number of deities of her own invention.
We opened all of the gifts my Mother had bought for the children. There were too many. Sorry if I sound like Scrooge, but a three year old and a six year old should not have so many presents that you can’t get them all in a car boot. There were hundreds of pounds worth of significant plastic. Mother had spent more than Mrs Viper or I could ever afford. She had spent more than some small nations could afford. She has the money. She says that she is ‘generous’. The trouble is, her generosity can be overwhelming. If you suggest that maybe it’s a bit much, things kick off. I don’t mean she has a hissy fit, I mean that she explodes into extraordinary histrionics and threatens suicide. I’m not kidding. This was my childhood. You see any links, Doctor Freud?
Here’s the brandy that I drank on Christmas Eve afternoon. I needed it. Medicinal purposes.
Stop looking at my crotch and look at the brandy, you freak.
At the kids’ bed time, we went back to Viper Towers. My Mother had wanted us to stay with her. Her house is much bigger, there is a lot more to eat and drink there, it’s more luxurious all round. We resisted the temptation. Mrs Viper and myself need to make our home a home and we can’t do that if we don’t acknowledge that it’s where we live. We tucked up the kiddywinks and we enjoyed a few quiet moments preparing the gifts for the next day.
I managed to immerse myself in the ‘magic’ enough to enjoy it. At my age, I know that all ‘magic’ is a trick, but I try to enjoy how artfully the trick is performed. I pretended that Santa would soon be making deliveries, I pretended that Elsie the Elf had tidied the bedroom and I pretended that my Mother is ‘nice’.
Christmas morning was sweet. We opened gifts and ate breakfast together. The kids got far fewer presents from us than from Grandma. They didn’t seem to mind. Mrs Viper and myself get each other dvds and books. It’s not romantic, is it? I want to be more romantic. Mrs Viper deserves better. I’m better at washing up than I am at romance.
We had a luncheon appointment with my sister. “A SISTER!” I hear you cry in the voice of Darth Vader. Aye. I have a sister. I don’t think I’ve mentioned her before. As a kid, I thought she was a cow. As I grew up, I realized that she had been coping with our childhood. My sister helps me to understand a bit more of who I am and how I got to be this way. She’s almost as neurotic as me, but she channels her neuroses into perfectionism. I channel mine into being rubbish.
My sister lives in a house I refer to as ‘the palace’. The kitchen floor is so shiny that my youngest is afraid to walk on it in case she falls into the reflections of the skylights. Honestly, it’s so reflective it induces vertigo. The house is huge and scrupulously clean. I mean CLEAN. You could perform surgery in her house. You could assemble microchips. It’s also tidier and neater than a Buddhist monastery. My house, on the other hand has patches of dirt that are older than the kids, balls of fluff that have taken on independent life and so much clutter that I sometimes cause avalanches. My sister’s house is a result of her hard work and perfectionism. She has total control. She also chose not to have kids. She admits that she didn’t have kids because you can’t control them, not without being a monster. My sister is a good egg, even if she is probably opposite to me in many ways. Why do I have kids? Because I said, “I’ll make a mess of parenting. I make a mess of everything. I’m sure they’ll survive. Who knows? Oh look, there are badgers on telly! BADGERS!”
There were other people at my sister’s house. Her husband, he’s great. He’s a good laugh and far less neurotic than me or my sister. He keeps us grounded. My Mother was there. She’s… she’s a whole series of blog posts one day. Shudder. Then my brother-in-law’s mum and step dad, my brother-in-law’s brother, his wife and their kid (a boy, about eight I think). People, eh? Wouldn’t the world be good if it weren’t for people shambling about? Some of them actually wanted to talk to me. TALK. TO ME. I have a reputation for being a witty conversationalist with a fine line in edgy jokes. This is a persona that I adopt to hide my genuine and anti-social self. My outgoing persona is useful in social situations, but it does mean that people want to talk to me. I need to work on a new persona, one that drives people away.
People don’t mention my break downs or the terrible behaviour that goes with them. People are too polite. Politeness is wonderful. Nobody ever says, “Tell us more about those mental things you did!” Politeness is another wonderful part of pretending.
My six year old fell in love with their eight year old. Everyone chatted amiably. The food was great. There were more presents. Have a look at some presents.
Bloggers love this shit, don’t they? Pretty shit. I should take pictures of stationery and nail varnish. People would read my blog if I did that.
From my sister, it was off to Mrs Viper’s family. They’re lovely people. There are too many of them, mind. They all have mouths and opinions, too. They like having conversations and interacting and generally behaving like human beings. Arseholes.
More presents. More conversation. More noise.
I knew that I was losing it. I know what it feels like. I was getting claustrophobic. I was trapped in a chair, surrounded by wrapping paper and people and highly significant pieces of plastic shit that the kids won’t care about once they’re opened and I’ll have to store and tidy and clean and the house is too small for all this SHIT and can’t people see that it’s FUCKING SHIT and they won’t stop talking and I don’t know if I’m smiling properly at all this FUCKING USELESS SHIT that’s everywhere and I’m sure they’ll notice that I’m losing my mind in this corner and that if I make one more person laugh I’ll have to point out that we’re laughing and eating and drinking and spending money on COMPLETE FUCKING SHIT while people are dying and starving and being blown to bits but don’t think about that look at the FUCKING TINSEL!
My interior monologue had lost it. I do not have pills to level me out. There was no designated time to depart. There was no structure, no plan. I was getting overloaded by input and I didn’t want to process any of it. In my head, I tried to put myself somewhere quiet and cold. I needed a winter woodland. I needed a stream of crystal clarity. I needed the stark simplicity of bare trees. I was being invaded by colourful plastic, blaring pop music, happy chatter.
It was suddenly time to go and I had held myself together. In the car, on the way home, I confessed to Mrs V that I had been on the edge of total freak out. She said that she would never have guessed. I looked fine. If I’d said, we could have left earlier. The trouble is, I don’t want to be the guy who has to ask to leave early.
I want to be normal.
I hate other people because I envy them. Imagine being able to sit in a room that’s crowded with people who know you and like you and ENJOY it. Imagine how that must feel, to actually ENJOY being with other people.
I’ve tried to be normal. I can’t do it. I can do a very good impression of it. My abnormality leaks out in behaviour that people see as humorous or eccentric. Because none of it is natural, I turn up the dial too high. I can’t chat, I have to be amusing. I can’t listen with interest, I have to give people the idea that I’m fascinated. I’m not making it up. Mrs V says that part of my problem is that people think I really like them, so they want to talk to me. Some of them want to be friends. Some want to be more than friends… that’s where trouble can start. That’s not for now, though. I’ve got the rest of my life to blog about this shit and you’re already bored.
We got home. I got things into some semblance of order. It won’t be truly ordered until I can put Christmas back in the loft. I can go to the dump and dispose of some stuff so there’s room for some new stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Isn’t stuff wonderful? If we didn’t have stuff, we’d be weird, helpless animals. Imagine that. A bunch of nudey apes, running about, shivering in a stuffless world.
Home looked a bit like this.
I say it looked a bit like that. That picture’s actually from late Christmas Eve, hence the unwrapped presents. I thought it was a nice image to end on, though.
I hope your mental health was no worse than mine this year. I know some of you have it a LOT worse. I try to sympathize, I’ve been in worse places. I don’t have much room for sympathy, though, most of my mind is taken up with feeling sorry for myself. I’m a selfish, self-indulgent misanthropic bastard. Aww, was it a noisy Christmas? Were you surrounded by people who support you? Oh poor fucking you, you ungrateful sack of shit.
There goes my interior monologue again.
Tell you what, next post I’ll do some pictures of presents that I got. My sugar daddy gave me three watches. THREE. I only have TWO wrists.
Have a Happy New Year, readers. It doesn’t seem likely, does it? It’s another little bit of ‘magic’ that we can all pretend to believe in. Happy New Year.
Cue the fucking fireworks.