It’s not my first one, either, not by a long shot. They’re all like this, which is to say disastrous. Oddly enough, at some point during the holidays I’ll play almost every role in the movie: the bumbling burglars, the abandoned kid, the scatter-brained, panicky woman, the ill-tempered neighbor, the whole kit and caboodle. These are unnerving days.
For instance, the other morning as I dried my hair in the bathroom I clapped eyes on the air vent in the ceiling. Yipes, it needed cleaning. So, being compulsive, I put down the blow dryer and picked up the Q-tips. I stood for long seconds deciding the best way to accomplish this simple task. Should I clamber onto the toilet seat, stand on a stack of books, use my desk chair? Hmm, too flimsy, too slippery, too stoopid. Besides, I didn’t need nearly that much height; a couple inches would do fine.
Then, * bink *, a light went on.
My Doc Martens. They have a really, really, really thick sole and an excellent grip. I put them on, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d as far as my muscles allowed, and went to work swabbing the vents. Only seconds into the job I got a leg cramp the size of a door knob, my calf muscle seized up, and my leg contracted. I tried to straighten it, but couldn’t. I was, for all intents and purposes, one-legged. As a result, I tipped sideways, careened off the toilet and into the vanity, from there I ricocheted into the wall and off the side of the bathroom door. I eventually came to rest wedged between the laundry hamper and the bathtub.
This is my most reliable holiday tradition. Every year, I pull at least one hair-brained stunt. Last year, it was the laptop stuck in the pants fiasco. Before that, I toppled a fully decorated Christmas tree, had a pressure cooker explode on me, opened a Coke bottle (and my hand) with a pair of scissors, knocked myself unconscious on a skating rink. The list is practically endless and oh, so humiliating.
However, this is the first year I picked up on the similarities between my life and Home Alone. How I’ve dodged such an obvious reality so long is a complete mystery, because I’ve been stumbling around for decades in a great big grown-up world I’m still not savvy enough to navigate . My family, you see, is long gone, and I miss most of them. They were my minders.
These days, it’s just me and the dog weathering a holiday shitstorm of missteps and hapless calamities. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my high-functioning depression.
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