We're standing in the middle of an indoor fun zone. We've all gathered here to celebrate The Regulator's birthday and pray at this temple of inflatable obstacle courses and all things bouncy. Even the floor has springs in it. The only thing missing is a few hits of Ecstasy, the repetitive thump of overly mixed House music and a bunch of almost-adults with pacifiers in their mouths and synthetic wings on their backs.
I remind myself that this is a birthday party for a four year old. This is not a warehouse in SOMA. It is not 1995.
With a literal spring in my step, I walk into a conversation about Christmas. Christmas correspondence, to be exact. The Keynote Speaker is The Regulator's mother herself, Miss Perceived.
"I'm doing a Christmas Letter this year," she says with a roll of her eyes.
By now I should expect her to do or say whatever it is that I don't expect her to do or say. Like talking about her drawer of sex toys with my father-in-law sitting at the table beside her. There is a reason she is dubbed Miss Perceived. But I cannot hide the what-the-fuck expression smeared all over my face. Nor can I stop myself from speaking, and by speaking I of course mean laughing.
"You don't even talk on the phone! Why would you send a Christmas Letter and what the fuck is a Christmas Letter anyway?"
I'm not completely dense. I understand the word Christmas (def: a day when it's okay to sip alcohol in the morning as long as it has bubbles or is an appropriate mixer in coffee) and I know what a letter is (def: something one writes when one is incarcerated). But what, Sweet Jesus, does one have to do with the other?
I scan my memory card for things I know nothing about and couldn't care less about and that's where I find it: a long forgotten memory of finding a Christmas Letter written by my Grandma's sister. In a beautiful longhand of swirls and loops, Great Aunt Katherine set about describing her year of family happenings on a farm in Missouri. I recall that something animal died and something human lived. Somebody gained a husband. Somebody lost a finger. Merry Christmas.
Christmas Letters, I told myself, were stupid. I was in the gifted program at school so I knew that I could not be wrong. Today, although no longer thought of as gifted (unless you consider the ability to give two kids a complete bath in under six minutes "gifted"), I still think Christmas Letters are stupid.
First of all, I have a blog. If you want to know how my year went, spend some time in Miss Spoken's archives. Bring alcohol and a Snuggie.
And what could I possibly say in a Christmas Letter? Legal is eighteen now and still spends her days social networking; The Boy turned six and graduated to wiping his own ass effectively; Boss Lady is five and started composing the soundtrack of my life on her new Kawasaki (thanks Miss Dee). Yes it sounds like popcorn kernels in the garbage disposal but it's a wonderful start to her future career as somebody way more awesome than her mother.
Miss Perceived defends herself. Kind of.
"I know, I know. If you want to get ahold of me, text me. If you call me, I'll just text you back. I'm a texter. Text, text, text. But I haven't sent out Christmas cards in years!"
Miss Perceived is a huge supporter of this blog and the written word of she who is Miss Spoken. Because of this (and the fact that she lives next door and could babysit in case I have one of those Ambien blackouts), I will support her Christmas Letter.
And if it is blog-worthy, God help her.