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jingle bell rock: six steps to yuletide insanity

On the first day of Christmas, Sydney city gave to me…an exorbitant parking fee
I’ve never owned a car. Okay, that’s not entirely correct. It was bottle green with red interior, a 1980’s throw-back to Suzuki’s hey day, nudge bar and manual locking inclusive. I neglected Cornelius (another reason I shouldn’t have children, my penchant for ridiculous names), and without an instructor or fully licensed supervisor, my L(oser) plates were allowed to elapse and I’ve never had the inclination to renew my motoring identity with the RTA. A dedicated public commuter, I often pass the time walking to and from train stations privately chipping in on pedestrian conversations – sarcastic commentaries of perpetually bored men and women, complaining about first world mundanities.

During one of these brief moments, I twigged onto the state of parking in Sydney, the headaches during Christmas and how hard done-by my fellow Sydneysiders were feeling due to the city exploiting the holiday period. One woman insisted she spent an hour searching for a parking spot in an unnamed parking centre (I gathered however, patrons were limited to two hours – ouch, I’d be upset too).

On the second day of Christmas secretly held for me…shoulder-barging through the QVB
There’s a certain crowd moving tactic this time of year, prompting injured capillaries and uncomfortable moments in the shower — a quick glance and a ‘how the hell did I get that’?

In my tinsel-driven merriment, I’ve joined an aggressive train of thought. To get to point A, any means may be used, as long as the sale item hangs heavy in bauble decorated shopping bags. Mall-grubbing during any mainstream holiday season reminds me somewhat of an expired Channel Seven game show — Gladiators. More specifically, a segment titled Gauntlet, consisting of athletic models wielding padded apparatus, preventing less able-bodied participants from scoring points or retaining any amount of pride. Substitute athletic with angry, padded apparatus with department-chic and you have my Tuesday night experience all boxed up.

On the third day of Christmas, MYER foistered onto me… an uncertain, snippy inductee
I remember my first Christmas, standing behind a counter, collar folded and stomach tight, a rum-ball of nerves. I waited as a human cacophony rose, aware of the mathematical impossibility of maintaining demand/order ratio. I’d never been more terrified of my McDonalds uniform or the thrill of powerlessness, as I gave myself over to impossibility.

Therefore, I understand the flippancy and heavy-lidded communication hangover of the service industry, the robotic pleasantries and mild aggravation of divergence or difficulty. Why can’t you be like everybody else? Why do you have to shop here? Why do you have to shop at all? Can’t you just go home? Use a gift card…a credit card…return policy? What return policy?

Wake me up when Santa retires to the storeroom for another year.

The fourth day of Christmas tortured me…with tunes of three wise uninvitees
Any repetitious music has the habit of becoming annoying. If played in concentration across a consumerist and/or public spectrum, the only one reprieve will be from the blessed one with the capacity to restore tuning to insipid Channel V countdowns. Kudos to Jesus, if he grants another small musical mercy. Though, to be completely honest, this isn’t my complaint. I love Christmas carols, I love them to the extent of regaling my neighbor with tales of Rudolph, while loading hard-earned dollars into noisy, pretty gambling machines. I will not only hum, but sing badly, any carol I remember. This is my off-key holiday mandate.

On the fifth day of Christmas Santa educated me…on annoying family trees (contraception – embrace it)
It’s interesting how discipline retracts, changing shape every year according to acceptability. It wouldn’t be detrimental to society if parents kept a tighter rein on their children, particularly when they run head-on into my stomach (being very short, my abdomen seems to be a target for festive headbutts).

I understand, however, it’s often not feasible to leave the sugared-up little darlings at home, at a friends house or elsewhere. At least we can walk away, holding our stomachs…

The sixth day of Christmas possessed me…to wander around aimlessly
It is relaxing to have no destination, no need to adhere to lists for twenty minutes as you browse the shelves and imagine for a moment your cash has been allocated to providing for your own happiness, not the materialism of others. Snow globes in particular seem to deliver a welcome distraction, the shaken glitter swirling and befalling the scene casts a momentary spell; bruises cease smarting, your phone forgotten — simplicity.

And then it ends, a sharp elbow in the side breaking enchantments. You move on, look down and sigh at the names there, uncertain if this din is representative of Christmas.

(Image credit: 1.)

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