I decided to do all of my Christmas shopping at local Chicago businesses. And I did, except a couple of items at a Barnes & Nobel (as some of the small local booksellers didn't have the intended items) but I still feel good about supporting a book store, period, in these times. Among others were; Eclecticity, Bookcellar, & Marbles. I found some gems in Marbles. I could spend a fortune in Marbles trying to get smart. Soothing classical music played, which studies have shown is good for the brain. An all around brain booster, that place. I spent a good chunk on gas to hop around town, so what didn't go to Amazon.com went to Shell.
My girlfriend and I left for Minnesota Saturday morning, trying something different. Instead of leaving Friday night after work, like we usually do, getting stuck in both rush hour and jams of others leaving town, we took naps after work and struck out at 2am. I couldn't fall asleep for the life of me, despite a bath. For some reason thoughts of various birthday parties popped into my mind, and I couldn't remember for the life of me what I did for my 27th birthday. And it bothered me because I started to feel like my memory is getting fucked up and I thought about spending more money at Marbles to turn that around. Then I started waxing nostalgic on the interior. See, I grew up in Maine from age 10 to 19. My mom has since moved to Michigan. So holiday trips to see family now point us either to Michigan or Minnesota. Which is great! Some swell places to visit. But I started thinking about how I will never get the opportunity to spend time in the house I grew up in ever again. And I got really fucking sad. Little things husked in my sense memory, like the back deck and cluster of pines behind the house. The gnarled tree I used to climb. The rotting tree fort and the compost heap I made with scraps of wood and chicken wire. The feel of the carpet on my toes, the half wall between the kitchen and the family room where news papers were stacked, the finished basement with cold white tile, a jukebox, a bar, an unfinished section of the basement with ski wax ground into the pavement. I desired to have a lucid dream where I just walked around in that old house, like a ghost, but I couldn't fall asleep. Now, it wasn't the most enchanting house in the world, it was a very ordinary residential 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house. But nonetheless it was the place where I spent 10 years of my formative years, and tiny little things that I took for granted happened, all creating an ether of forgotten warmth...and then the worst of it is, I started thinking about how even though I've gone through 9 or so Christmases since my dad's passing...it really sunk in that I'll never get to spend another Christmas with him again on this Earth. Unless he were to drift down as a ghost. Which may not be a complete impossibility. But all of those ghost hunting shows portray such spirits as pissed off or sad or anxious and I wouldn't want that kind of Christmas for my dad.
My good friend's little brother got married over the weekend in our old hometown of Auburn, ME and there was a pre-wedding party a few days before Christmas at one of the brew-pubs, Gritty McDuffs and I felt a bit of jealousy towards all of the old peers getting to grab drinks and catch up. Something I didn't really think I'd care about at the time of high school graduation, but I do after all feel some interest in the course of their unfolding life stories and seeing it via Facebook is such a tepid leak.
I did have a great Christmas with my girlfriend's family. We enjoyed some great traditions, like crab legs for dinner on Christmas Eve, Vietnamese food a few days later. They were all very generous with gifts and we had a jolly time talking, playing games, just being together, that sort of thing.
Burning into my late twenties I'm realizing more and more that life moves fast and some things don't get swept up into the time ticking churn. Childhood burns its wick, and some of the wax of its glory doesn't stay stuck to the table. Some of it gets chipped away. But you look at the table next to you and see your buddies getting to play with old wax of theirs that no one chipped away and you feel weird. You can't mad. You can't control the chipping sometimes.