Going to the grocery store today was like going to the food court at a Maul. Even my out of the way and safe parking spot was taken. People were swarming over the store like bees at a hive. So very much food was being bought and I would not help but wonder at how much would be wasted, and if not wasted, how much would be eaten past the point of a person being sated.
Waisted, as it were.
My big thing is, and will always be, packaging and wrapping paper. Fodder for a landfill and damn little else, this is the stuff that our civilization will be remembered for most. We go to great lengths to produce something that doesn’t do anything at all and is a detriment.
A few weeks back there was a wave of beggars that hit Valdosta and at one time they had both the big chain stores close to the Interstate and the Maul saturated. Two of them closed one exit of the chain store by parking a man in a wheelchair in the middle of the lane and forcing people to stop. I have seen this same wheelchair man walking around in stores. I’ve seen him lift his chair to put it in the back of his truck. The odd thing is what he’s doing isn’t illegal except he’s trespassing and how much time do you think he’ll serve for that?
The gym was nearly empty yesterday except for the kids trying to sneak in to steal stuff. Security is only as strong as the weakest point in the system and that would be those people who will open the door for anyone. I got in about an hour and a half of good solid workout because the place will be closed for two days and in that two days I will blow my diet and exercise regime to hell and back.
Christmas is a time when people socialize until they are traumatized. We travel frantically from one home to another, or host get togethers, and everyone will eat more than they need. There is a lot of cleaning before and after. Then we either will flit over to the next home, or have someone else over. There are presents to exchange, to pay for, or not pay for an put on the card, and it never really ends. Come January we’ll have a flood of folk at the gym who are trying to undo December but by March they’ll all be gone. The credit card bills are likely to stick around a lot longer.
I once worked at one of those short term loan places and the one Christmas I worked there it was like selling my soul at 37% interest. People would do anything, give anything, permit anything, just to get their kids a toy that in all likelihood, be forgotten before the loan was paid off. It didn’t matter the end result of giving would be taking away from those same kids for months. That one morning meant everything to them because it meant so much to everyone else. I loaned a couple with two kids five hundred bucks that would cost them one hundred dollars a month for seven months, plus fees for processing their loan and insurance and a fee for a background check which we didn’t do. What those kids were unwrapping on Christmas morning was a half a year of misery.
People will hurt you at Christmas. Ordinarily it is relatively safe to walk across the parking lot at the grocery store and people will slow down for pedestrians. Now people roar through the lot as if their asses are on fire and their heads are catching. It’s a nonstop attempt at getting enough to be too much. It’s an endless stream of consumption for the sake of having something to do when we’re in a room full of people we see once or twice a year and have nothing to talk about.
I drive faster at Christmas not because I’m in a hurry but because everyone else is. Saturday found me speeding along a back road I had hoped would be spared the madness, but no. It’s a two lane road that one day will be four laned but until that point people jam together like grains of rice trapped in a drinking straw. Give up on any thought people will figure out they’re going no faster if they are the tenth person behind the tractor traveling at thirty miles an hour or if they’re one space closer. I dropped back away from the pack and got passed so I dropped back again. Yep, some sixteen year old in his daddy’s truck passed me and nearly rear ended the person who had just passed me. These two played a game of who can get killed first for twenty miles.It took nearly thirty minutes to do this and with each passing moment I wondered if either of those two would survive.
I’m not sure who would put a tractor on the road at this time of year but I am certain if the driver had a dollar for every middle finger he saw that day he could buy a faster tractor. If he got to cut them all off and keep them he could plant them somewhere and have a fine field of fingers. Kinda morbid isn’t it, yeah.
If all of this sounds depressing as hell I am sorry. But I go through this every year. Each year I look for some sense of sanity in the holiday mess and I keep not finding it. I want my regular parking spots back, I want my routine back, and I want people to be the way they are when they aren’t shopping til they drop. I want to be able to walk into a store without having to wonder if I really need food this week or should I just wait until it’s safe again? Every year I hope that I can find some way to cope with Christmas that doesn’t involve Scotch or despair but it keeps not happening.