“When you just don’t feel like life there is always the option of conveniently dying!” That was what Roger felt as he peered out into the dense fog that was standing in for the failed expectation of yearly snow blizzard. The nation was in the grip of the unorthodox both politically and otherwise. His generation had been summarily cast off like a snake strenuously loosening itself from the confines of an outer cover too small and constraining. The weather didn’t matter to the reigning generation. As long as the stores were open with extended hours and they could get their last minute ‘buy off.’s’ for the nameless kids of their distant cousins. Christmas, as Roger had known it, or thought he had, was a mesmerizing concoction of old Hollywood sappiness conjured with dim memories summoned from small fuzzy faced snapshots that lay haphazardly gathered somewhere in a drawer. The solitary nature of these emotionally deadly holidays for those of advancing age was more about the realization of former longstanding rituals being permanently and irrevocably interrupted. Fading memories could not serve to stand in as replacements for what he surmised was a loss of animal functionality. He supposed that the essence of that thing named youth was congealed in the ability to overcome anything. While it’s lack signified an unwilling but mandatory acceptance of the glaring fact that anyone not making the cut would be slowly excluded from the pack. In some ways, perhaps, he was right! But the shackles that bound him from the lost illusion of further enjoyment were imaginary and of his own making. Hadn’t he seen Charles Dicken’s.” Scrooge” enough times?
The lingering idea ringing about in his head that there was a single acceptable mode of proper conduct had long ago been dissolved by his tacit notation that attitudes could publicly shift in a short span of time. The accommodation of what had been unacceptable yesterday quickly flushed with a lifestyle electron jump to what was now considered ‘The Norm‘. The fickle process of change resulting in the usual rhetorical game of ‘witch hunt‘ for convenient scapegoats easily remonstrate-able on both sides of the issue. But then one could not blame these central martyrs of the respective causes so much as those of the invisible herd who just went along without so much as a mouse squeak. They were somebody’s children somewhere? Ones who were, depending on your side in any given issue, culpable. The one common trait was that contemporary youth was ever to be afforded the moral high ground for easily condemning the contradiction of advancing age. Society’s answer to same was in providing all future generations with circuses composed of endless mental fantasy in computer based playgrounds affording opportunities to reject any reasonable necessity to contend with the physical world of everyday street level reality. The Smart phone and tablet was invented with that in mind. A device tasked with making available one’s favorite movie or episode, ‘On Demand‘ in any situation. Everyone was simply a cartoon character alternately acting cute or irritating depending upon their visible rites of passage compared to an easily recognizable cliche that they summoned forth. The aged were particularly high scoring easily available targets in this regard. There was always the opiate of reliable response easily available in popular sequels of major movie and games franchises to power out of the awkwardness of insoluble social complexities. A Dunkin Donuts on every corner! A Game Stop to provide quick sojourn in the markdown and trade in value of last years hottest game for the latest most sought after iteration of the same. How could a trip to a bar or Grandma’s house on those fatal family days of the year hope to compete with that? Christmas was a aged dinosaur that had shed too many outer coverings over the last century to expect to recognizably survive the holiday release of the latest rehash of a well-regarded ‘space jockey’ epic . In a land where cooking at home centered around a microwave, reheating something stored in the freezer had become preferable to the waiting time inherent with the stove.
Roger knew all this. The best recognition that he might be lucky enough to attract from any given stranger would be as a passive stand in for an older more awkward less entertaining incarnation of Porky Pig. He had no right to expect otherwise. It seemed better to stay silent in public then play pawn in that Chess game for the impossible quest for finding further virtues of Christmas past. But like some modern incarnation of Diogenes it didn’t stop him from giving it ‘lip service‘ by passively trying. Find a place in that lingering impossible moment in a ‘Ripped Van Winkled‘ clueless Don Juan who could never quite understand why most others in the countryside around him who had steady jobs did not somehow feel the exact same emotions that he did? That irrepressible St. Vitus-like contagion of ‘Holiday Spirit‘ had driven him the day before to trespass publicly trespass within a distant archipelago belonging to the better heeled wealthier classes. An upscale restaurant cast in the drag of a ‘chic‘ Parisian ‘bistro le déjeuner’. Too late Roger finding out that like any other ‘vagabond undesirable‘, he would NOT be saved from the scorn of drowning his hunger face first in the iron ‘moule’ pot of Christmas ‘ennui’ by the likes of any of the surrounding dowagers and their snot faced little nephews. Their real fur coats and those self-righteous true life stories of their mavens forcefully coveting unused corporate bagels at failed sales events from being purloined by those common parasites positioned too far below their daily schedule of acceptable conversation. It seemed hard not to despise these people who worshiped material success with that accompanying rigor of a tightly monitored social pecking order as being anything other than hypocritical fools. Yet, what was the purpose of his own mission in being there? He defaulted to a wish that he had both the constitution, and the pocket book to be one of those who could sit merrily content on a bar stool all day happily singing along with any infrequent Christmas jingle that the house speakers might deign to provide the notion of a holiday. But then, that was reality!