Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day three hundred and sixty nine ... Everything gets old.

The tree didn't get lit yesterday.

Not because I wasn't home--I was.

I just spent all day doing what I do, and by the time I went to bed I realized that I didn't need to unplug it, as had been my recent bedtime ritual. And I swear it gave me a funny look so much as to say, "Yeah. I know. What have I done to deserve this?"

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that yesterday Scott came over and painted my living room. We had to take down the lights on the bannister and change the whole room around. It wasn't something I enjoyed--It's still far from put back together--but the room is a much more serene earthy light green--Dried Parsley, as they deem fit to call it down at Benjamin Moore.

Either way, I hadn't skipped a day since the beginning of December when I got the thing.

Everything gets old.

I have a doorway full of greeting cards. There must be twenty or so. And each card--if they haven't fallen once and been put back up again--has a piece of very bedraggled Scotch tape affixed to the top, clinging to the door frame for dear life like a midget trying to save an elephant from falling off the edge of a building. "Hold on old girl ... help's coming soon!" They have their grace period this week. Next monday I'll take them down and put them back in the envelopes they came in and put an elastic around them and put them somewhere I can find easily in eleven months. It's always a good backup to have the return addresses in case you lose all your stuff. 

I have to decide when to take the ornaments off--one by one--and carefully, patiently wrap each one and put in the boxes they came in--the old, brown, brittle boxes covered in marker, dry masking tape, and day-glo stickers.

I'm glad I have a good vacuum, because there's going to be a lot of needles lying around. 

But it served me well these last few weeks. I don't know if it's recommended to burn the tree in the fireplace, but maybe that'll be where she ends up. It seems fitting.

I suppose it's for the best, as I am expecting my kitchen table to be ready by then. Wood comes in, wood goes out. 

And then, as is the case in the weeks following Christmas, you'll start to see trees out for the trash. They always look so decrepit from the removal of the ornaments and the general ravages of time upon a grand specimen of horticulture left to subsist on tap water and garlands.

Everything gets old.

2008 got old.

I'm glad I'm here on the other side of New Year's.

I can tell that I wanted to be done with the year by the way writing 2009 seems so natural to me. I usually need to get into the year by a few weeks--sometimes months--before it's second nature. But this year--all year--I had a hard time writing the "8". It always seemed so labored and forced, and my poor penmanship didn't help things either. It kind of always looked like a nine when I wrote it, with the bottom circle getting kind of smushed into a slim elongated oval. Then I'd end up having to draw over it a couple times with the pen tip which more often than not just made things worse. I can never decide if it's worse to just leave it as it first appears--unsure and fidgety--or as it is after my doctoring of it--dark, smudgey, and practically illegible from excessive repetition. But, if I could see the way what I do looks from other sets of eyes I'd have all kind of answers to all kinds of questions.

I'm a bit scattered these days. I have a lot going on and it seems like time is slipping away quicker than ever.

But the tree is lit, the cards are still hanging up (they make me smile), and is seems like everywhere I go people are gearing up for the months ahead. The holidays are finally in the rearview mirror, and what lies over the horizon has the making of something landmark. I know I'm not alone here.

And this time next year I'll be looking at another tree and (hopefully) a whole new set of Christmas cards. And the year will have two changes in it, even though the zero at the end will be kind of a discrete rearrangement. And we'll have all kind of answers to all kinds of questions. 

I have to sign off for now; my stories are on.

It's the middle of the season, and things are heating up.

May sweeps seem like a lifetime from now. But by then, tonight's episode will be a repeat and I'll have erased it from my collection.

Everything gets old.

Thanks for reading.



Libby Spencer said...

Hey Alex. As nice as the ritual destruction sounds, under no circumstances should you burn your tree in the fireplace. The pine pitch is very bad for the chimney.

Here's to a happy and properous new year. Cheers. (clinks water glass)

F. Alex Johnson said...

Thanks Libby. Good to know.

Cheers to you ("clink").