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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/10/09

Christmas (Anxiety) Countdown 2009!

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Come all ye faithful. What required merely a 15-minute drive to accomplish just a few weeks ago has now become the all too familiar (and frightening) hour-long death defying obstacle course and study in survival. Once harmless little old Italian women in questionable attire produce have now become the enemy mustachioed drill sergeants with armed with a unibrow grocery list and baking agenda. The need to create and produce impossible amounts of cookies and inedible fruit cake God knows what else is in direct proportion to the flour and baking powder wars now going on in aisle seven. (Price check on almond extract, please). All of this rising blood pressure yeast and anxiety is compounded by a greater need to get this production done before the holidays arrive, so that we can feel completely exhausted as close to God "normal" as possible and be closer to the ones we love as we fall asleep in a liquor induced coma. Have you kissed your yenta therapist today? She has been patiently awaiting your visit call. I'll dial her for you, if you like. Her dreidel is such a disappointment next to your big Douglas fir. Pine needle envy, indeed.

'Tis the season. It seems so surreal to see store shelves filled with cranberries and something that has to replace pumpkin, when not long ago, we were voting for hope and change and by virtue of George W, we got it! People are starting to string lights on their houses and instead of being barraged by the continuing saga of Tiger Woods' sex life political ads, we're now being accosted by commercials for toys that will require more batteries than my best vibrator ten days without electricity. And it wouldn't be the holidays without the credit card diamond industry making more promises in a carat than any person with an IQ of more than 12 should believe, but because we are hopeful, naïve (and sometimes stupid), we still do. (Looks in David Yurman catalogue.) (Not really, I prefer Bulgari or Georg Jensen if truth be told.)

'Tis the season. It is a time to reflect, to gather, and let go. Women are cleaning house to make everyone else feel like they should have stayed at home. We plan meals, buy and wrap crappy regifted gifts, cook to exhaustion and enjoy the leftovers in our bathrobes the following morning when we face the man mess that was made the night before. When all is said and done, we are exhausted by the whole damn thing our own ideas of making it perfect for everyone else and we often feel resentful empty and full at the same time. No one understands this more than other women. And so we make plans for a three day cruise lunch to discuss it and are just thankful to sit down on our fat asses and be served some other garbage by someone else without having to do the dishes. Make that a double, please.

As you walk in or out of a store or the ladies room this season, take an extra moment to hold the door for another woman, whether she is coming or going. Remember that she too is under the same fairy tale influence deadlines and stress as you have completely avoided this time. She has childhood memories and fantasies of what it should be like or how she will make it different or better, or better yet, perfect for everyone else at her own expense. Maybe before the world comes to an end of this year. She is the woman you were many years ago, the one you are becoming or will some day be. We are mirror images of each other. Check out that chin hair; it's coming soon to a mirror near you. Honor yourselves and each other with a smile of understanding. And even if you're a man, you can sing along with us.

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Fo llicle La La La, La La La La.


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Patricia A. Smith is a writer and artist (and sometimes both at the same time). A former columnist, restaurant critic and cruise line executive, Smith has lived in London, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica and France. She returned (more...)
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