Tis the Season to be Stressed


Tis the Season…get away!

There’s nothing like the Christmas holidays. To convey its importance and presence in my life, imagine that the autumn is the ocean, my overwhelming urge to headbutt someone in the forehead is a great white shark chasing me through the water, and the Christmas holiday is the buoy that will protect me from that.

I used to love the period between Halloween and Christmas. To me, there was nothing like the feeling of anticipation and cheer. The holiday spirit was like my ass in a speedo: it was everywhere you looked. Christmas movies were on TV, snow, carols and Christmas music soundtracked your dreams, decorations, malls jammed with shoppers, Santa in his pre-diabetic glory handing out candy canes and promises. Additionally, my family was lucky enough to be invited for Hanukkah celebrations with friends and neighbours, and this just added another festive element to an already lovely holiday season. Though there was always school and exams, I knew that after just a few more weeks I’d have an unmatched period of fun with my family and friends. Secondarily, I’d have two weeks off in which to enjoy that.

But, and I know this is true for many others who accidentally became adults, those pluses have reversed themselves as I’ve aged. Now, my eye is on my holiday as though it were my pizza moving through a restaurant on a silver tray on the tips of a waiter’s fingers. And a joyful time with family and friends is secondary. Now. And as much as I want to gleefully surrender to the ubiquity of the Christmas spirit, work has a sneaky way of being extra stressful just before Christmas.

I know this is the same for many of you reading this, so I think I am no special case. But in my case, tis the season for students to come out of the woodwork and make a benign gesture of dedication. This is almost always a student who’s come once or twice at the very most, but who now all of a sudden decides they need to make things right, or at least start to make things right. I suppose the logic is that if they get in touch before Christmas, then they can exonerate themselves for the previous three months of slack. This, in turn, means that they can go into the Christmas holidays with a warm and fuzzy ‘I am up to speed and all is well’ feeling. Imagine a co-worker who naps all week but on Friday at 3 p.m. pumps out a report in forty minutes and then celebrates a tiring job well done at Happy Hour.

Right behind those lazy students dropping into my office are the various people who are allowed, nay encouraged, to give me tasks and jobs. These are often last minute drop ins. They are done with a shrugged off ‘We need this done by Christmas’ and I am left spinning around in my chair softly reworking the words of Silent Night into a murder ballad.

Since doing anything work related over the Christmas break is a concept I understand less than calculus, I have to take care of them now. So in the last few days leading up to my holiday I will be juggling tasks, avoiding those in charge, and groaning every time my phone rings.

The good news? I will get the Christmas spirit back. Once I leave the building on Tuesday, I’ll think about the great times ahead with family and friends, the relaxation, the time away from work. The good news is that I’ll soon be in my favorite bookstore, walking around, thumbing through novels and pounding a tall grande. The good news is that soon I’ll have a cheesesteak, my grandmother’s home ravioli and meatballs, whatever brilliant meal my uncle cooks on Christmas, with a side of beer. The good news is that I’ll be on a flight on Wednesday morning, and that flight does not allow international calls from my boss, and when I sit in that (hopefully) aisle seat, all of those late slacker students will disappear from my memory for two full weeks. And that flight will serve these lovely concoctions called ‘bourbon on ice. Hold the ice.’

Merry Christmas.

  1. #1 by Allison on December 17, 2016 - 1:23 am

    Wanna get a beer in PA? Dylan and i will probably be visiting my folks in Yardley while you’re in town…

  2. #2 by Roberta Souza gg96734@gmail.com on December 19, 2016 - 4:49 am

    Merry Christmas and Mahalo for the enjoyable reading. I look forward to reading them! Safe flight and have a blessed Holiday!

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