I’m sitting on my couch, the television is screaming at me to buy things I don’t want and my attempts to brush the cobwebs, fog and shadows from my brain are failing. My lower back, knees, and neck are in constant, mind numbing pain. Empty and half empty bottles of aspirin, ibuprofen, and motrin are scattered around the house like the dust bunnies that seem to show up every week. These simple facts tell me one thing.
Summer is over, fall is here and the looming grayness of that overtakes our hemisphere for one hundred plus days of the year has arrived. It was trumpeted in with a hail of screams as I sat on my front porch on the evening of October, 31st and handed out the yearly bribe to the ghosts, goblins, princesses, super heroes and serial killers that had invaded my neighborhood.
Yes, it is official, summer is over and the time of dying and rest is on the cusp of overtaking our lives. A time when the earth tells us all to slow down, pace ourselves and enjoy the rewards of our efforts from the rest of the year. But do we? Do we sit back and rest? Do we slow down? Do we listen to the quiet whispers of the primal forces that have been controlling mankind for over 250 thousand years?
Not anymore. Sure we used to, when our lives were lived at three miles an hour. But today, we live our lives at the speed of light. (186,282 miles per second, just in case you are wondering.) We can’t keep up or compete with metric shit ton of problems life throws at us. Especially with the over commercialization of the impending holiday and the stress we put on ourselves by trying to make everything perfect for the celebrations that have already begun to invade our calendars.
It sucks. I have always looked forward to this season of rest. But for the past seven years I have been unable to truly enjoy all the offers, tidings and joy that are afforded to others. It’s ok, I’m not really complaining, I just seem to be missing some of the good cheer I used to bathe myself emotionally in on a daily basis. It’s the whole speed of light living thing I suppose. I don’t know how much longer me and my fellow elves will be able to maintain the hectic pace set for us by others. We are all falling apart and chores that we once were able to perform without batting an eye, now take their toll on our bodies in the form of splinters, jammed fingers, twisted knees and ankles.
We self medicate with all the tried and true over the counter painkillers and occasionally with some not so over the counter medications. We stagger to and from our tasks in a shambling state of undead likeness. The moans of sorrow a low an guttural in nature and only drowned out by our recitation of the tasks we have yet to finish. As we gnaw our way through our home made lunch’s, our bodies creak, pop and stiffen in protest of the abuse that is waiting us in a few short minutes.
We joke and laugh to hide our pain but our wit is soured and tarnished by the disillusionment of the impending work schedule. We know we will rise to the occasion and make the dreams of others a reality. We understand our position and we know if anything ever happens to one or two of us these dreams would never see the light of day. But we go on. We have to. There is something inside of us that drives us to complete our work. To not disappoint.
I can’t speak for my fellow Polaks, I wish I could, but I can’t. For me, I know why I do it. I know why I put up with all the discomforts, the pain, the abuse and the sleepless nights. I remember the looks on the faces of the small visitors, the ones who don’t show the wear and tear of a life of disappointment and the tarnish of failure. Faces whose owners are drawn into the magical season and are so immersed in the wonderment of the coming solstice that their minds ignore the minor flaws in the scenes they are observing. The stray burnt out twinkle light, the animatronic figure that appears to have palsy, the chipped paint or exposed electrical cord. All these minor errors are overlooked.
This is why I do it. This is why I work to the point of exhaustion and then continue to push through the mind numbing monotony in an effort to finish the tasks at hand. We have only four short weeks to accomplish our magical machinations but we get our jobs done on time. We always do.
My only real regret, that is if you can call what I feel, regret, is that my life is so consumed with work at this time of year, I don’t really have the opportunity to enjoy Halloween or Thanksgiving. Sure, I get to have candy from the spectacle of spooks and I enjoy the harvest feast of the pilgrims. But I am not as in touch with those holidays as I would like. But these feelings of loss quickly fade with the setting of the sun and the passing of the shortening days.
Soon, we will be surrounded by a fantasy world of green, red, blue and silver. Music so saccharine and overplayed that we forget we ever really liked the archaic melodies. Smiles of false friendship and the monotone redundancy of “Thank you.” From exhausted shop owners and clerks dig their way into your brain like an ear worm on a bad 1980’s radio station. We will be tired, groggy, drunk from overspending and generally in a bad mood. All thoughts of the joy we are supposed to be feeling for the season will be lost in the never ending deluge of commercial sales and greed for our hard earned dollars.
For me, this year at least, I am going to make an attempt at abstaining as much as possible from the commercialism that has invaded this coming season and just try to enjoy my family and my friends. I am also going to try and focus most of my energy on why we celebrate this time of year and what it means to me. If I am successful, I will post my thoughts in a blog, if I am not successful, I will still post my thoughts in a blog. Either way, you will know what I have discovered.
Have a great week.