These are, as I may have observed before, the nothing days.
Whether you recognise Xmas as a religious occasion, as a season of peace, goodwill and family, as an opportunity for gift-giving and receiving or just an abhorrent pain in the arse that you really wish people would ignore, Xmas is a season that impacts on everyone, and the last days, as the occasion itself grows reluctantly near, are days that have no significance in themselves, except as way-stations.
Not everyone will see them that way, people with plans, events, parties, boozy nights out. Things to do. But many people, like me, who have completed their planning in advance, who have nothing but work, and ticking off days lying between us and next Tuesday, see these as nothing days, neither fish, fowl nor good red meat.
I’ve no-one left to buy me presents, and no-one to buy presents for. My only family is a younger sister, from whom I’ve been estranged for over fifteen years. We meet only at funerals, and barring any disaster affecting her children, which I hope and pray to anyone who has the least influence over such things, will never happen, we will not speak at the next one, for it will be one of us awaiting the flames that reduce us to the ashes that will be sprinkled on Plot C at Dukinfield Crematorium, rejoining that family of which we were once just the junior parts.
But presents there are, ordered and, except for the impulse buy off Amazon on Sunday that may or may not arrive before the day, received. And I divided the food into groups, some to be bought on each of the few shopping occasions permitted me by my shifts. Three more items tomorrow night, when I get out early and can get to ASDA, the fresh stuff – carrots, brussels, bread – on Saturday.
I’m working Sunday the 23rd, until 9.00pm, my working Sunday falling on that day. It’s better than last year, when it fell on Xmas Eve, and I was coming out at 9.00pm after the buses had stopped running at 6.30pm. This year, I will be in my pokey little bedsit for 9.25pm or thereabouts and, short of needing any emergency food and drink buys on Xmas Eve, I plan to lock the door behind me and the world out, and to have no contact with anyone beyond the ethereal medium of the internet until Thursday 27th at the earliest.
It’s all about a complete switch-off, a complete down-time, with only me and my own concerns to be concerned about. There are many people who couldn’t handle that, but for me it’s going to be a highlight.
I’ve a couple of mates I usually meet for a drink between Xmas and New Year, and I have an annual trip to Dukinfield Crematorium, for what will now be the 27th Anniversary of my mother’s passing which, with it being Saturday, I will combine with a visit to Manchester City Centre on the way home.
The rest of it will be new books, new graphic novels, new CDs and the DVD Box Set of The Big Bang Theory season 11. And writing, don’t forget the writing. I am currently turning the second draft chapters of my current novel into third draft chapters, with varying degrees of writing, and when that’s completed, I will be looking at certain of them in order to edit down or build up into fourth draft chapters. That’s discounting my regular features on this blog: there’ll be no stinting on these.
Writing will be the most important part of Xmas, as it is every day: writing keeps me sane.
Roll on the 23rd. Roll on shutting myself away. Roll on the peace of solitude. Roll on the Xmas turkey and the lager.