Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

I had an aberrant reaction the other day.

Friday night at about 10 PM I got a text from our neighbor, Paula. She said to call her if I was up, which I was, and which I did. Paula had found the remnants of two packages, one a Honey Baked Ham that Ann had ordered for the holidays, and one an Amazon package. The contents of each were long gone. Then in the morning I found on our doorstep the remnants of another Amazon package addressed to our son Peter, placed there by our neighbor Cinda, who had found it up the street while walking her dog. The doorway package thieves had hit our neighborhood, or at least our house.

Everyone feels violated by thievery, and so did I. What didn't happen to me, interestingly, was that I didn't feel angry, at least not much. Sad, yes. But then, I thought, it wasn't much. I talked to Ann, who was in the city overnight with daughter Sara and granddaughter Lola at their annual Girls Night Out, celebrated by Lola annually by telling me, “You can't come, Baba, because you're a boy!” Ann was upset because part of her plan for the holiday was having ham available, which signifies something about Christmas to her. I told her I could drive down to Costco and get a spiral sliced ham that we had ogled last week. She told me that she would hate for me to have to do that, but I told her I'd be happy to do it, because who would be at Costco three days before Christmas, anyway?

So off I went to Costco. There was very little traffic but of course that changed as I drew closer. Luckily, I was able to be in the faster left lane up the off ramp which others apparently didn't know was a “right turn OK” lane, and then was able to stay in the left lane until the very end in the approach to the entrance and move to the right at the end with huge holes in traffic in the right lane– amateurs driving! – and then had to find a parking space in front of the convenience store by the Shell station, but there was an open space right there. Located spiral sliced ham – they had moved it from last time, which is what Costco does – and grabbed some baguettes, some sandwich meats and sandwich rolls and pumpkin pie and bottle of wine and shrimp and wrap sandwiches God forbid we should go hungry – and approached to check out counters with six people deep until the attendant waived us over to the lesser used lanes where I was second in line to someone with really minimal goods to check and VOILÁ – out the door! God was smiling, fast trip to Costco three days out? Come on!

Back to the car, saw other carts abandoned here and there but I was a good boy and took mine back to a station. Pulled out of my space and saw the exit lane jammed with little movement. And then I saw myself doing something Christmasy – coming down the opposite lane and contending with me for the next spot in line was a white SUV with a family, two adults and two children – and instead of taking the space, I waved them in in front of me. Here I was, recently aggrieved by theft, but blessed by express lanes one after the other, finding lots of food to offer family, and I was responding by passing on the beneficence.

And I noted what I was thinking. I was thinking how lucky we are that the theft of food and presents really doesn't mean anything to us. I remembered the stories of people who remembered that when they were kids their mother took them downtown to look at the store windows but who didn't get presents because they couldn't afford them. I remembered that there is a big difference between those who have enough and those who don't, but a small difference between those who have enough and those who have more than enough. Am I going to get upset because some blighted souls afflicted us? If I did, I should feel ashamed of myself.

But no need to feel ashamed. Instead of being aggrieved, I was feeling lucky and fortunate. That's strange, but welcome. Me, a sunny guy? Me? Mature? Wow.

It must be sneaking up on me.

Merry Christmas!

Budd Shenkin

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