This Christmas Day I shall dine alone, in fact hopefully, I will spend the whole day with the single person that I trust the most in the entire world, myself. No let downs, no drama, no hissy fits, no organized jollity, just me, home alone. It will be fun since I actually make myself laugh quite often and that’s a really good thing, particularly because I’m rather a tough audience.
Oh no, that’s awful you must come to us for dinner, oh that poor man, he’s all alone, today of all days. Whoa, stop right there, before you go any further. I’m doing this out of choice, as I said to my friends, Angela and Christine, “Don’t cry for me Ange and Tina”. Now that is the sort of stuff that makes me laugh, please yourselves but it’s better than the average Christmas cracker material.
How did it all come to this, it’s so sad. Didn’t I just say, enough of this patronizing guff? I’ll explain, I broke up with my last partner recently and really want to just spend this day doing what I want. The break up was all quite civilized, like Paltrow’s uncoupling or decoupling or whatever she called it, more simply we just ran out of things to say, this was after about 4 years together.
I have a relationship theory which I will outline briefly, I will admit it is not popular with long term couples who look at me quizzically when I mention it, even though I’ve just heard them arguing about sharing a fish starter in the restaurant, “You know I can’t abide mackerel pate, and with wholegrain toast, what were you even thinking?” We’ve all been out to dinner with ‘happy couples’ like that who bicker throughout the meal, if you haven’t you are probably one half of that couple but haven’t realized it yet.
I have this theory that relationships should only last between five and ten years. There I’ve said it, so now you can say, he had it coming, no wonder no one wants to be with him at this most special time of the year. Personally I think that after just five years you’ve heard all their bullshit stories at least three times and all their jokes double that amount, good luck with the ten years one.
Ten years becomes a test of fortitude and the measure of the individual’s tolerance, if you’ve gone the full ten and there is still a glimmer of something left, you have my comprehensive admiration and respect. Now I’ve had two marriages which lasted well into double figures, the first produced two lovely children, the second was with a very attractive, very intelligent but predominantly eccentric woman. You never knew what was coming next, it could be the two of us dancing under a garden sprinkler in the heat of summer or me checking the cutlery drawer for missing kitchen knives. It was certainly never predictable and I was never stabbed but, more importantly, it was never dull.
That’s my five and ten theory out of the way, back to Christmas Day.
I will not make small talk with people I barely want to know. I will not tolerate sullen teenagers as they stare blankly into their iPads. I will not eat cold, yellow sprouts because we had to wait for the parsnips, otherwise they would have been raw, whose fault was that hmm? I will not watch Skyfall for the seventh time as Adele warbles the theme song tunelessly, something about scaffold. I will not pick up a paralytic sixteen stone relative in the garden because he slipped over looking for his bike. I will not drink Banks’ bitter because that is all they have left. I will not feign surprise and delight at the Aldi aftershave gift which is ‘just like’ Paco Rabanne. I will not watch the Coldplay concert played at a 120 decibels that someone recorded so we can all hear it, oh and I won’t play Twister, yes I know it’s fun. However I will not, I will not, I will not, is that clear?
I will get up when I choose, nineish probably, and after a shower and shave I will have a light breakfast, fresh fruit, perhaps scrambled egg with smoked salmon, strong black coffee. Some Christmas carols or perhaps a few oldies playing in the background, Dino, Sinatra, Ella, Torme, Sarah Vaughan but festive tunes, I am not a savage.
I will ring my daughters and a couple of friends. No, I’m on my own this year, no, I don’t want to come over, thanks, no, I really don’t want to come over, no honestly, please no. Check the phone for news and texts, yes we must catch up in the New Year, post some festive abuse on GP, a bit of reading perhaps.
No TV, absolutely no TV, Christmas dinner, local butcher’s fillet steak rare, green salad, some home made roast wedges, a bottle of Volnay or Pommard from my diminishing stock, followed by home made cheesecake, but with no thrupenny bits in, then perhaps a walk afterwards.
If I get lucky it might be snowing. I got married on Christmas Eve once (so I would remember the date) and then on Christmas Day it snowed, we walked around Mayfair in a glorious light snow shower, the air was cold and the streets were hushed, the ground crisp under foot. It turned out that cold and hushed was a portent for the latter part of that relationship, but that’s another story.
I shall drink to long gone family Christmas days, to the childhood Christmas gatherings where twenty or more relatives were gathered around three tables, each table a different height and shape, where the stories grew more outrageous as the drink flowed and where I basked in the warmth of it all.
I shall drink to later memories of Christmas when my girls were growing up, they couldn’t wait to go to bed on Christmas Eve as Santa wouldn’t arrive on his reindeer chariot till they were asleep. I shall drink to Christmas where it was just the two of us and we got up late, a quick quickie, well it is Christmas. I shall drink to the Christmas where you wrapped yourself, as my present, in silver foil and I had to unwrap you.
I will remember it all but this year I will also enjoy, to the full, the silence, the absence of the iPad teenagers and the relentless TV repeats, the lack of fake bonhomie, I will try to savour this special day for what it is and for its many memories but not for the crass consumerism it seems to represent to so many today.
In the evening I might even have a glass or two of Talisker single malt, the 10 year old one, and so to bed but still not even one game of Twister. Home alone but don’t cry for me Ange and Tina.
© Viciousbutfair 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file