The Christmas Spirit

I’m not so big on holiday stuff. Have I mentioned this here before? I’m a little bit of a Grinch. More than a little, it turns out. I’m stressing about presents and sending out my cards and getting home for Christmas without spending eight million dollars. I don’t enjoy Christmas music very much. I never decorate my house because I’m always in Florida. I secretly think that dead Christmas trees are sort of wasteful (we actually do the lights-on-a-potted-palm thing at Mom’s house in Miami) even though I like the smell. I hate movies that involve The Magic of Christmas (Love, Actually, I am looking in your direction), although maybe that’s only because I haven’t seen A Charlie Brown Christmas lately.

Mostly I don’t like the abovementioned stress. I am doing all my shopping online this year, pretty much, so I’m not even going into any stores, but I am still worried about shipping and whether the stuff is going to get there in time. And of course, I haven’t actually clicked on “Checkout” which just makes it worse, like I can’t get it together to put things in my online basket and get on with my life, somehow? How pathetic is that?

Maybe I would be more into it if I put a little more effort into the whole thing…but it’s hard when you don’t have kids and are not a kid yourself, you know? I mean, sure, yes, let’s open presents and then go to the beach, but…I don’t know. The magic, it is gone. Maybe that’s because a lot of the drama is gone from my holidays now, beside the online shopping angst. Mom and I have worked very hard to erase as much of that as we can from our own personal merry-making, and as far as I can recall it works out pretty nicely. Last year after presents my mom and sister and I took a wonderful bike ride to the state park and sat on a seawall and waved at all the people on their yachts and enjoyed the sunshine and it was very nice. This year my sister won’t be in Miami for Christmas so we’re going to go up and visit her a couple of days afterward and do some presents there, I think. Maybe I will actually go to Disneyworld. Which is very silly to think about, considering how ridiculous it was the last time I went, with the no-Horizons-ride-having Epcot thing. But really, what could they do to the Magic Kingdom, take away Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean? I think not.

Anyway, so my thought is, that maybe a lot of the joys of Christmas come from all the traditions, which even though they drive you insane, do serve an important function: they remind you that it is supposed to be a special time of year, they give you a chance to engage in slightly different behavior (chopping down trees, dressing the cats up in discarded Christmas ribbons, the making and consumption of spicy apple cider 24 hours a day) and they remind you that another year has passed. So when you walk away from those, when you consciously decide that it’s just like any other day, you lose a little of that feeling of something different, something special, and are just left wondering why plane tickets are so expensive all of a sudden.

But that’s not what this entry is about, frankly. Ignore those paragraphs up there. All this is unnecessary buildup to one very simple fact: I took the Starbucks Christmas Bus to work this morning. It was very weird.

I thought it was a firetruck at first, but I wasn’t paying very good attention because I was reading (The Two Towers, if you must know, because I’m getting ready to see The Return of the King in a couple of weeks and I like to be prepared but I find I can’t just read one of the books, I have to read the whole trilogy for some reason) and so I barely looked up when I noticed that the other people were milling around the bus stop in “Hey! The bus is here!” formation. I saw a big red truck-ish looking thing and never dreamed that it would be the local transformation of public transporation that it was.

So, I can’t find a picture of this, but please believe me when I say I saw this with my eyes. The whole bus was painted red, except for the front part where it tells you which bus you’re getting on and where you’re going. It said “48—Loyal Heights” the way it always does, nothing like “12-25—North Pole” or anything like that. Red bus, with gigantic Starbucks logo on the side and I think on the back window too, made of that special logo stuff that renders the windows opaque from the outside but still lets you see out. And then, on every window, there was a Santa hat, in the same logo stuff. I was able to look at this closely as I had a window seat for part of the ride…the part where I wasn’t practically spooning with the dude sitting next to me because it was so crowded. It looks like a bunch of little red dots in the shape of a Santa hat.

Now, that’s all fine and good. I guess Metro is notoriously hard up for cash and is pimping the buses out to various corporations to scare up a little money that various ill-conceived tax-cut initiatives have cut in the last couple of years. I hear from a reliable source that there is a Mountain Dew Bus as well, although no word as of yet as to its holiday-themed status. I say, though, if you’re going to do it, do it. Specifically, provide me with some delicious Starbucks hot chocolate (tall, two percent, no whip, please) once I get on, okay? I mean, on the inside, the bus looked exactly the same as a normal bus. Where’s the fun in that? I want my corporate sponsorship to extend beyond the surface, don’t you? How else can I get into the Christmas spirit?

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