Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012 (The Road Not Taken)

Well, Christmas was kind of flat, as the usual for the past several years. Not bad or anything, just...flat. Me feeling pretty much unwanted, unnecessary.

Christmas breakfast at my mom's with my brother and his wife, her dad and her sister in from NYC and the sister's boy (my nephews' cousin), plus the nephews... The nephews had already gotten their presents from their parents at their own home earlier in the morning, so at my mom's, there was just my mom (their grandma) giving them their gifts, plus hers to me (the frame that she and I had disastrously shopped for together a couple of weeks ago) and my brother. Then the boys pretty much ran off with their older cool cousin to go play football at the nearby park.

The entire thing lasted only about 2 hours, then my brother/family wanted to go back home, a half-mile away, to help pack up for the NYC sister/son's 3-hour road trip that afternoon to Houston to go visit his dad. (I wondered why my brother and the nephews had to leave just to HELP PACK. They didn't HAVE TO. They just WANTED TO leave. While I wanted to hang around more with them. And I missed my older nephew -- now age 10 -- wanting to hang around ME instead of his cousin!)

Feeling extremely superfluous, I was dropped off back at my apartment... I laid on the bed and stared at the TV for an hour (too early to drink--it's only 1pm, it's Christmas!). Then. Hmmm. Well, I SAID I wanted to get cleaning done during my time off... So I cleaned out more piles of paper. Scrubbed more counter- and table-tops. Put the Joan Crawford print into the frame my mom and I had shopped for earlier. (Due to earlier-in-the-month disastrous shopping relations, there was no nice matte-ing or anything. So I just turned the front of the advertising over to the white side and used THAT for the "matte-ing"/background. Looks decent! See below photo.)

By then it was 4pm on Christmas, edging closer to allowable drinking time. Not quite, so I just laid down again and went to sleep. 7pm, when I woke up: OK, now OK to get on Internet and drink! :) Here I am. Did do some useful stuff, though, before coming to my blog/starting to post Joan Crawford website stuff: Laid out about 7 of the crappy necklaces I'd bought from eBay during my buying spree last spring and took photos, then re-listed on eBay for sale. (They've been bugging me for months being around the house, since I don't wear or want them...) Did the same with some unwanted CDs. So that was SOMETHING "useful"! :)

And another mildly hopeful thing: When I was getting online, I happened upon the 2000 movie "The Family Man" on Bravo to have on in the background. Usually Bravo movies suck. (Love their reality shows, but HATE their crappy movies that they run in off-hours!) But this one EXACTLY hit the spot at this semi-drab Christmas moment in my life. Plot:

1) A young woman seeing a young man off at the airport as they're both embarking on potentially lucrative opportunities. She begs him to stay with her, he says one year apart won't hurt their love.
2) Cut to 13 years later, same man waking up in an apartment to a sexy woman he's picked up the night before who's getting dressed and saying "I had a good time." He asks her to stay with him, but she points out that it's Christmas Eve and she's going to visit her parents. Scenes of him then swaggeringly going to his high-powered Wall Street job, interacting with the other rich residents of his apartment building, laughing about a phone message he's just gotten from his old college sweetheart (the same one he left at the airport years ago).
3) Walking home after work that Christmas Eve, he stops at a convenience store and "interacts" with a store robber...
4) Wakes up the next day...Everything has completely changed. He's now waking up on Christmas morning to a wife and kids in New Jersey, where he's a tire salesman...

And all this is NOT hokey! It's kinda like "It's a Wonderful Life" but...nothing's a given. While it was on in the background, I kept wondering, "Now, HOW are they [the filmmakers] going to work this all out exactly? God, I hope they don't just promote the in-reality-dull but feel-good-for-the-audience family life... But, the corporate life was also somewhat empty, despite the way-better perks." In the end, the filmmakers showed the highlights of both the family AND the corporate life... AND DIDN'T PICK A SIDE! The ending was perfect and subtle.

While I was watching, I kept thinking of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" (the only poem I know by heart) -- and that very poem was later quoted by a character in the film!

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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To me, the key line being: "Though as for that the passing there/Had worn them really about the same." In "The Family Man," there wasn't a "better or worse," just an intelligent "there are good and bad about each and here they are."

Odd as it sounds, watching this movie really brightened up my previously melancholy Christmas. Oh, as did looking at my haphazardly-framed Joan print! :)










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