That Sense of Belonging
God help me.
I can't help but reflect on a great irony: I spend my days helping others get their Christmas shopping done, while being quite unable to do any of my own. Even if I had the money (which I don't), I don't have the time, since my hours have gone up in direct proportion to the number of sales the store in having and the freight pouring in and the people flooding in looking for holiday deals.
To make matters worse, the Beast have begun his annual campaign of reminding me how good past Christmases have been compared to the one that's got its laser pointed between my eyes.
"Ah," you say, "But you're working, you're family is intact, you're no longer homeless."
All that is true, but I don't feel as though I belong.
Explain? Alright, I'll try. The holidays* are taken as that time of year when families draw closer together, kids' wishes are fulfilled, fantasies take flight, and goodwill is generally spread all around.
Now, remember that in America all this is driven by the engine of consumerism. Madison Avenue has somehow managed to equate the joy of the holidays with "make that credit card smoke, Buster, or you ARE the Weakest Link. Goodbye." Everything is spend-buy-spend-buy. Even if you're making the presents (as sean carter suggested in his Comment) you still have to buy the raw materials, and those prices go up a little every year.
As a marginal participant in the American Economy at best, I feel as though I'm missing out if I can't give out any Christmas gifts. I feel like an outsider looking in on a great big shindig. I feel like I don't belong.
Got it? Don't worry if you didn't. Makes little sense to me too.
Suffice it to say, then, that the remaining weeks of 2006 promise to get very crazy for me indeed and leave it at that.
*from this point on understand that by "the holidays", I mean not only Christmas, but also Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well