December 24th, 2004

planet

recap of christmas eve eve

Last night was fantastic. I got off work, went home, packed up, loaded the car and drove three hours to Margaret's annual holiday party and gift exchange, where I received a Magic 8 Ball from mikey in exchange for a set of salt and pepper shakers I brought with the state seal of Kansas on them. There were lots of people to talk to and it was fun to catch up, as always. I have no idea how many years in a row I've gone to Margaret's party. Seems like it's been since early college, but maybe it dates back to high school. We were all friends then, I'll say that. The drive from Wichita was long so I was starving... filled up on chips and dip and stuff and was pretty happy.

Some of us decided to have an after party at Jen & Kevin's, but they said they had to drop off a friend first, so JL and I drove off to his apartment because I'd never seen it and that way I'd have my car parked somewhere closer to home. He has a very nice apartment; much better than mine, but the rent's a lot higher. Life is full of compromise. We talked and had some hot cocoa and then went to Jen & Kevin's.

I haven't been to Jen & Kevin's house so I got a grand tour. They have a new puppy; it's small and fuzzy and cute as hell. I kind of tried to make myself a chocolate martini but they didn't have very good vodka (they're not really vodka people, it turns out) but I'm not really picky about such things. The drink made me hazy. We played foozball (fun!). Mike and Mark were there. It was good times.

Went back to JL's and I wasn't in a condition to drive, exactly (I was close, but I don't risk it) so he said I could crash on his couch. We went in and got to talking and had a good 1-2 hour conversation where we tried to be philosophical and address great social conditions of humanity but looking back it probably wasn't so deep; I was dead tired. I mean hell, I rarely stay up past 11 these days and there it was, 3:00 a.m., and I'm up trying to hold a conversation. Either way it felt really good to talk to him. I don't have many friends in Wichita I can have good deep conversations with. It's tough to find those sorts.

I realized that if I stayed I wouldn't go to sleep, we'd just find things to talk about, and I wasn't drunk anymore, so I drove home. It was freezing cold. I shivered in the car; I hate that feeling, where you're cold and it's not even windy, it's just cold. I got home to my parent's house just a little before 4:30. Damn. Slept until 8, got up, and spent the day bumming around and talking to my sister.

It's Christmas, almost! I was so happy on the drive up here last night, watching the sunset over the flint hills, listening to Christmas music with my car full of presents with perfect bows (I love making the bows more than buying the presents and almost more than getting the presents, I'm serious here).

When I was 16 or so, I used to feel weird about being happy, because there was always that looming fear that it could go away. I conquered it as I got older. I observed that no matter how good my year was, the next one was always better - I knew more people, learned more topics, had more experiences, and I didn't have to be afraid of anything in life going downhill. I didn't have to be afraid of needing to turn back, because I wasn't turning back; everything was great. I was born, I'm alive, I'll die, and I accepted all of it.

There are only two times when I feel like I still want to freeze time and pause the whole cycle - one is springtime, because running outside in the sunshine after a long winter is so great. The other time is Christmas, with the perfect tree, and my friends at Margaret's party, and my mom and dad and sister. I think if we could all just stop the cycle somehow, we could live forever. And sure we'd lose out on the growing experience and I tell myself nothing is worth that, life should move on, that's how God planned it.

But to have all the christmas we'd ever want, just like it is, would be so tempting.