Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Gatherings

Two days ago, I spent the majority of the day schlepping backpacks and my children in and out of airports.

Travel, particularly, holiday comings and goings bring out the best and worst in people.

Airline attendants adorned in elf hats, brightly colored red and green Santa plaid hand out candy canes as children skip down the walkway eagerly anticipating their grandparents' big smiles and hugs on the other end of the flight.

Juxtaposed to the sweet moments are the harried ones, where someone is frantic to get on the next flight or is grappling with a sobbing little one confined to a seat with painful air pressure that can't be managed when you can't chew gum and unplug your ears.

My absolute favorite, new travel moment occurred in the Phoenix airport when a woman brought her dog into the bathroom and "Reginald" decided to venture underneath his stall and hang out in mine watching me as I tried to take a shit.

Mindful, that this was all kinds of fucked up, I kept waiting for the owner to yank Reginald's leash and force him to go back into her stall.  Instead, she just said, "Come on, Reginald.  Give her some privacy."  To which, he said, "Fuck you...I rather like watching this girl take care of her business." Lovely.

If you can get past the craziness of flying with children especially, when it never fails that one of your daughters will puke up her lunch as you descend over the mountains, causing you to want to barf but requiring you to hold it together because you have to be the grown up...

well then, you'll make it to the dinner table with all of the amazing crazy cats gathered.  And you'll have a little wine and then you'll polish off the bottle and then, you'll open a new one, and realize that you're not driving for a week and that you're cell phone carrier sucks an asshole in the house you're staying in and so, if you're going to garner intelligent dialogue, now's the time to do it...even if you find yourself going on a diatribe about well, the most important subject one can study in school.

To which, the majority of the table responded with math.

And, I thought, that's insane.  It's of course, reading and writing. 

At the end of the day, communication is what makes the world go round and your ability to state your needs while being able to decipher the needs of the other and ultimately, mesh the two...to me, seems vital.

To others, the consensus was that the world is comprised of black and white; right and wrong and that at the end of the day, no matter whichever way you slice it...one plus one equals two.

Pshaw, I lamented.  This is why I hate standardized tests.  They are not a good measure of what one brings to the table.  If you want to know who I am and what I know, sit down and interview me.  Ask me elaborate questions.  Make me probe and give you details.  Life cannot be summed up in multiple choice answers or true and false statements.  The answers to life live in the gray...at least for me.

And this is where holiday gatherings are a hoot.  Because really, when else do you find yourself engaging in these semi-heated, traditionally meaningless diatribes of banter until all you have is time, booze and a head full of thoughts?

Thank God, we didn't talk politics.  I can't easily get home from here and I fear that I lean a little too far left for my better half's family, but I am abundantly grateful that they put up with my wine-induced, feminist soap boxes. 

I suppose that's the beauty of family.  We find all kinds of ways to love each other, especially when it involves opening sparkly packages, gathering around yummy meals and watching our little one's grow.  Here's to the holidays...

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