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Monday, November 28, 2005

Stuck Inside Of Paradise With Those Snowbound Blues Again


I moved to Florida four years ago... something I said I'd "never" do again, having lived in Miami/Fort Lauderdale in the late 1970s/early 1980s, missing the changes of seasons as I did back then. Well, "nevers" being what they are, I've been living here full-time for 2 years now (the first couple of years I lived here I was in NYC working more than I was here doing anything).

I own a little retail business, and have had Christmas merchandise in my store for nearly a week...windows have been decorated for a few days... but I've resisted playing holiday music until today. Since my personal Christmas CDs are still stored in "hurricane boxes" from last year's storms (no Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, either...people tend to want living room furniture after dinner, especially after THAT dinner, and I just don't have any yet), I decided to bite the frozen bullet and put on some internet radio holiday music. I chose "Christmas Oldies" in order to avoid "Grandma Got Run Over By Whatever" and Eminem's "Christmas Is For Wimps" or something similar.

First up? Karen Carpenter: "Merry Christmas, Darling". Great.

Next? Bing Crosby: "White Christmas"

Then? "I'll Be Home For Christmas"....can't say who sang that one, because less than halfway through the first verse I was already just about to reach for a boxcutter and do myself in. My GOD, I was depressed!!! A customer came in and said, "Oh, what nice Christmas music you're playing!"

"Shut UP, you IDIOT, can't you see I'm DROWNING here???" (No, I didn't say that). The only thing that briefly saved my mood was "Little St Nick"/Beach Boys, or there's really no telling what I would have done or said.

I often curse the fact that I fell in real love for the first time in December in northern New York, because, especially as a now-Floridian, I have the extra added patheticism (yes, it's a word. I just made it up. "Patheticism". I kind of like it) of experiencing bittersweet nostalgia and mournful misery at the same time.
Somehow, putting on Dylan's "Winterlude" at the first snowfall was pleasantly, comfortingly nostalgic and allowed me to recall all the magic of that first love, that first grown-up feeling Christmas (or, more accurately, being able to recapture the excitement of youthful discovery, thereby feeling younger and more vital, even for a little while). I'd always manage, married or not, to find a little time alone on the first day of snow, "Winterlude" repeating while I sipped something warm and gazed out the window.

Now, there's a mix of being glad I'm no longer freezing my butt off before December, glad that I won't hit any ice on the way to or from work, glad that I'll have great sales during the holidays that will (hopefully) continue throughout tourism season.... and that's only one side of the equation.

The other is mostly the feeling that "I wanna go home and play in the snow", would rather be warming myself by a fireplace than at the beach, and see absolutely NO point in people ordering hot chocolate at the coffee shop next door to my store. Isn't there some law against that when it's 78 degrees? (And no, getting a latte when it's that temperature outdoors is just NOT the same thing). Yes, I slap myself into reality because I really DO know the true spirit of the season, which has nothing to do with any of the above (except the first love part...that will always be part of this time of year for me).

In fact, I found myself singing along to "Sleigh Ride" in the car on my way home tonight (when it's dark it's easier to imagine it's really Christmas time, I think).

What does any of this mean? Nothing, really, I suppose... but to all of you who still live in places where it snows, even a little, if you want to change places for a day or two, let me know (offer expires December 26th, when, each Florida year, I get over it).

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