All I Want for Christmas is a Negative Antigen Test

I am an unabashed lover of the holiday season. The lights. The music. The movies. The full on allowance to eat as if you are six people. All of it. Who doesn’t love elf costumes on employees at the stores, even if it only offers proof that someone on Earth is more miserable than you? What could possibly give you more joy than being served a sausage and cheddar brick sampler on a toothpick by an employee wearing elf ears and barely containing their tears? The answer: nothing. Also acceptable: go to the chocolate aisle where Rudolf is mixing up a Swiss Miss concoction and silently weeping.

Oh, I know it’s considered cool to be irritated by Christmas. And the reasons for said irritation are surely there. Each year Christmas makes an insurgence into our daily lives. Each year that insurgence seems to come earlier than the year before. Christmas music everywhere, the grocery stores teeming with Christmas chocolates and cookies, sales on liquor in green and red numbers help chase away those Christmas blues. If you don’t like Christmas, by December 26th you are going to hate it even more. Every time an aggressive elf tries to feed cheddar to an unwilling shopper, a goth gets its winged combat boots. I get it.

Christmas has always been big in our family. No matter what irks us to “we’re going to end up on the news” levels of angry, at Christmas we put those things aside and have a wonderful holiday season. We do this like so many other families, by pretending everything’s great and by talking about food and football for six days. On Christmas, mirth drives the bus. Mirth and pasta. Sometimes mirth and pasta and bourbon. The true meanings of the holiday season.

I doubly enjoy this time with family since the end of the year can be very stressful. The powers that be seem to consider December their last chance to drain every drop of work and hope out of their workers, thus sending them to an early fal la la la la la la la grave. And then there’s the Czech Republic, whose relationship with “joy” appears to be an awkward family portrait at Walmart. They feel joy, they feel cheer, but they don’t want you to know it. I wished a jolly delivery man a Merry Christmas yesterday and he stared at me for so long I thought he might hit me. Instead he looked at his watch and nodded before getting in his truck and having what must have been a good cry.

It’s for these reasons that getting on the airplane to go home is an experience of near euphoria. I will have finished my work, leaving behind responsibilities and stress. I am going to a house where the people are screwed up and crazy, but in exactly the same way I am. For the twelve days that will follow my flight home I will gorge myself on football, Italian cuisine, and  family time. So as I get on that plane in mid-late December each year, I do so with the freeing knowledge that there’s nothing between me and a Philly cheesesteak but 14 hours of jostling elbows, bad meals, and Will Ferrell movies. It’s pure joy situationalized.

That is, until now. Now, there is something else standing in the way of my holiday hopes. And that thing is called an Antigen test. In case you have time travelled from 1000 (or 2) years ago an Antigen test when someone jabs the back wall of your nasal cavity with a swab and determines whether you have COVID-19 or not. It’s this test that I need to get (and need to be negative) before I can get on that flight this Friday. If I have the negative test I am hoping for, then I am in for the whole holiday shebang: the Will Ferrell movies, the cheesesteaks, the family fun. If I have a positive test, then I am staying in Prague. And I will be devastated. Prague will have an angry, embittered, and most likely drunk holiday hater on their hands. I have my Rudolf costume on standby just in case. And I might get those winged combat boots. Merry Christmas.

  1. #1 by Ed on December 14, 2021 - 3:44 am

    Good luck Dame. I believe in you. You will ace the Antigen 😉

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