Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Lo, how a lemon e'er swinging.
This year, unlike others, has found me struggling somewhat to get into the Christmas spirit.
Partly, it's work. When it rains, it pours. Extra assignments for SparkLife, regular rotation on MTV.com, random copywriting jobs that I can't turn down for fear that I won't be offered another one. And looming over all of it, THE BOOK. Oh, fuck, the book. My editorial letter has arrived, a 10-page monster detailing all the many, major things I need to change between now and next spring, when the manuscript is due in near-final condition.
Partly, it's New York -- which, despite my nearly eight-year residency here, just doesn't feel quite right anymore. The city is pretty at Christmastime, but I'll always be country at heart, and I'm ready for a life that's not so paved or populous. I ache for a rural farmhouse, three acres and a long driveway, and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. Fireplaces and flurries, a landscape full of leaf-stripped trees, with branches that puncture the sky like blackly bony fingers. I want to look out a window and see nobody, or listen at night and hear nothing -- no breaking glass, no raised voices, and definitely no middle-of-the-night noise parties courtesy of the group of gentlemen across the street who start drinking at nine o'clock in the morning and seem not to have jobs and yet somehow, strangely, have been able to purchase several very large, very loud motorcycles.
I'd like to stand alone on my porch in the deepening twilight, stringing tiny white lights under the eaves and watching while the world turns violet.
And partly, it's that when I went to unfold our little white Christmas tree from its corner storage space -- hoping to put it on a tabletop and let its twinkling cheer dissolve my December blues -- I discovered that Vivian had peed on it.
I mean, all over it.
So today, looking for a way to stop feeling so vaguely seasonal-affective and start feeling more eggnog-and-gingerbread, I decided to pull out an old-school holiday tradition from my own youth -- one in which, at my mother's direction, we would poke a bunch of holes in various oranges and then stick cloves into them.
My mom says that it's called a "pomander", and that it makes things smell nice. (And they... do. Although I can't help noticing that they also look like a really cute foodie representation of Pinhead from "Hellraiser".)
Of course, since this was a spur-of-the-moment pomander, I didn't actually have an orange. But I had a lemon, and I had the cloves, and by God, I had the initiative. And so, despite having several other things to do, I went ahead and spent my morning duly impaling the fruit and then shoving cloves into its hide, while Pinhead the Lemon oozed and squirted and generally misbehaved all over my hands.
Still, I persevered. And finally, bleeding from under my fingernail (courtesy of an accidental clove stab) and with skin still smelling of citrus, I wrapped Pinhead the Lemon in a length of ribbon and hung him from our kitchen doorway.
The effect was, shall we say, not as I'd hoped.
And now I have to explain to Brad why I have decorated our apartment with -- let's be honest, now -- what appears for all intents and purposes to be a sad, small, hairy little lemon testicle wearing a loincloth made of ribbons.
But on the upside, I have not stopped laughing at it all day.