Monday, December 14, 2009

Aw, How Sweet

Stupid, stupid Christmas. I now remember why this holiday annoys me so much every year.

Thing is, if I can get out of having to give or receive presents, everything is fine. If all we do on Christmas is get together, cook an enormous meal, drink copious amounts of domestic beer and watch basketball, then all is right with the world. Or we can go to a movie or a diner or have a snowball fight. All of these things make me a happy camper all year long.

What doesn't make me a happy camper is giving gifts. Even receiving gifts can be a pain in the ass. You might be thinking that I mean, when someone gives you a gift that proves they have no idea who you are, or gives you something you already own ten of, that pretending to be blown away by said gift can be annoying. Oh no. This time I mean something much worse.

I mentioned to the 'Stoph that I'd like to have a food processor sometime in the next few years. Ever instinctually inclined toward self-preservation, he carefully asked if a kitchen gadget wasn't the kind of gift that gets husbands the silent treatment until the following Christmas, and I assured him that as cooking is sort of a hobby of mine that I would love to have it any time of the year, even at Christmas.

Then he asks me what kind I'd like. I tell him, the most important thing it should do is puree. Aside from that a bit of fine chopping would be nice but its primary purpose would be to liquify vegetables, squashes and legumes for soups. So then he asks if I want a hand-held one or a stationary one and how big the capacity should be. Tiring a bit of basically picking out my own gift, I wearily tell him what I'd prefer.

But is it over yet? No, it is not over. During the course of the last month, I shit you not, this guy has asked me no fewer than ten times what again it is I want the machine to do. We have now had no fewer than ten several minutes-long conversations about this one stupid machine that is supposed to serve one stupid purpose. Finally he got tired of having to remember the two words, "Pu" and "ree" and asked me to come to the store with him to pick it out.


Is that really the way things are done in the normal-people world? Not only do I know exactly what kind of thing I'm getting, but I don't even get to be surprised at all, knowing exactly which model it is? I was blown. away. But, ever the good woman to the depressingly uninspired man, I agreed to go with him to show him the KIND of mixer I'm talking about. So on Saturday afternoon, we planned on going, but wound up sitting around the apartment all afternoon until I had to leave to meet some friends. As I'm getting ready to leave the house, he goes, "So are we going to the store?"

"No, I don't have time now."

(dripping with sarcasm) "Thanks."


No. He. Di'int.

I go, "Sorry, did you just say 'thanks'?"

(groaning cos he knows he's in trouble) "Ayep." (sigh)

Cue neck-gyrating, finger-waving, hands-on-hips, oh-hell-no mini-lecture about how it's bad enough that he can't remember the words "pu" and "ree" but now I get attitude about ruining his whole fucking day because what, it's the end of the world if you don't go today? He has the nerve to respond,

"Well, I just want to get it over with."


Because you're the only person in the world? If I want my gift I better jump when you say jump? We both sat around the house the same as the other and you KNEW what time I had to leave, oh hell no, you know what? I am so sick and fucking tired of talking about this thing, if I'd have known it would ruin your life to get the damned thing I'd have never mentioned it in the first place. Forget about it. I am so fucking over it. You're on your own. Don't buy it if you don't want to but the dialogue about the fucking thing is OVER.

I can't see the point of raping all the magic away from Christmas by forcing your loved one to do all the work for you. What is the point of buying someone a gift if there is zero element of surprise? If we did things the way he wanted to do them, I'd honestly rather buy the damn thing myself, on my own time, without pressure or whingeing from a grown-ass man. If it's the thought that counts, then he deserves a punch on the nose right about now.

But that's what Christmas does to the unwilling. If it doesn't give you any joy to give gifts, why not just opt out of it? I know I say this every year, but I swear--this is the last year I'm exchanging gifts with ANYONE. I hate it. Hate buying them, and now I even hate receiving them.

After I was done telling the 'Stoph where to shove it, I went out with people who I will hopefully never exchange presents with, and had a jolly good time. The end.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

No, Your Mom Is

I am the picture of Christmas cheer, goddamit.

Last night, a few fellow Americans and I went down to the Christmas market at the Rotes Rathaus (incidentally, the place where JFK made his famously ill-pronounced proclamation of solidarity with the survivors of the war now living in West Berlin, "Ish bean ine Bahleener").

It must be said that they sold absolute tosh, bollocks, rubbish and perhaps a tray of biscuits with a spot of tea, oops sorry back to American English now, anyhow the stuff was crap. Usually there are at least a couple of jewelry stands from whom I'm almost tipsy enough to buy something I don't need, but even completely trashed on the white wine in the plastic cup pictured above and with cold hard cash burning a hole in my pocket, I couldn't be bothered to waste my money there.

Plied wares included: hideous "hand-painted" ornaments, usually centered around a theme of Christmas nightmare, horrid, ugly, frightening things to make you afraid to go to sleep at night: Nutcrackers and goblins (I think they were supposed to be kings or something), animals from the Netherworld, etcetera, all fashioned with a smallish sort of rope thing so as to be attachable to a Christmas tree. Silk scarves in boring patterns and dull colors. Titanium, glass, and rock jewelry. Not a chunky silver ring in sight. "Handmade" slippers, socks and moccasins with the "Made in China" stickers still on them. And lots and lots of overpriced food.

The evening was going well, we were frozen but in good spirits, when apparently I provoked the ire of one middle-aged fatherly looking gentleman by loudly speaking in English, generally obstructing foot traffic and having a huge ass, and he called out, "What a horse!" I turned around to see if someone had been talking to or about me, and there was this guy in his cheap suit, looking back as he walked in the opposite direction, clearly disgusted by my existence on the planet. I looked at him questioningly and he repeated, "Horse!" Lacking the wit or vocabulary with which to form a decent comeback, I cleverly retorted, "SIE sind ein Pferd!" No, you're a horse!

Other than that the night went swimmingly and we stuck with the animal theme a bit, calling each other rhinos, sheep, hippopotamuses and other assorted not-quite-offensive animals.

Then we went to a friend's bar and I got so drunk that I fell asleep on the train, missed my connection and rode all the way to the end of a foreign line, paid €17 for a five-minute taxi ride, babbled incoherently to the 'Stoph and passed out with a cheeseburger in my hand. The end.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What Rhymes With Hiatus?

I've been thinking about you. No, I'm serious. I've missed you, and I think about you all the time, it's just... sometimes you need time for you, you know? I knew you'd understand.

With all the me-time I've been getting lately, I've got enough saved up to be in your face every day for the rest of your life. Don't start celebrating all at once.

Have you ever become so addicted to something that you didn't even realize you were hooked until it was too late and you forgot what you used to do before you discovered it? Like drinking coffee, or smoking cigarettes for example. What did you used to drink when you woke up and wished you could stay in the bed? What did you used to do to distract yourself from the utterly unchallenging repetitiveness that is life in the First World and look cool at the same time? If you're like me, the last time you weren't a coffee addict you were still a child, ditto on smoking, oh God I have spent 11 years of my life chain-smoking and avoiding museums, libraries and hospitals as they tend to not cater to my habit; someone shoot me now--oops, never mind, killing myself anyway.

I knew I liked to argue, but I never imagined that it would take over my life. For the last four months or so, I have been spending every waking moment not filled with eating or sleeping or drinking cheap vodka in shithole bars arguing on an expat site for English speakers in Germany. At first it was merely interesting, a site I checked out to see what else I was missing out on in life. Then I made the mistake of creating a profile, commenting, and etching out an online persona for myself. Then they made the mistake of empowering people to hand out reputation points, for which I shake hands, roll over and dance for like a dog, albeit a feisty, don't-take-no-shit-off-your-white-collar-ass kind of way. Now it has taken over my life. I find I'm finished with my arguments for the day, then have nothing to do--can't even remember what I used to do on the internet, much less what I used to do before I became addicted to it. I stare dumbly at my computer screen, wondering what other buttons I can mash to make something stimulating come up and entertain me for the next 43.7 seconds. While waiting for responses to my absolutely senseless and inane comments, I refresh my Facebook page over and over again until my eyeballs fall out. I blame winter.

I have also been: wondering what it all means, trying to keep my house clean, wondering what it all means, failing at keeping my house clean, wondering what it all means, looking for a job, wondering what it all means, starting a new job, wondering what it all means, keeping up with friends in town and overseas, wondering what it all means, and teaching myself how to make crêpes.

What have you been up to?