I know some of you will sneak away to the computer sometime to get a little relief from an overdose of family togetherness, so here’s my Christmas card to you all.
How lovely to finally be at home after almost 12 straight hours of slogging through town (some of us didn’t have any groceries for Christmas Day or presents for significant others or, in fact, anything), in the snow and then slush and then snow again.
And even the forced march through the snow wasn’t so bad. You get to see Vancouver at its best and worst, as everyone braves Napoleon-invading-Russia weather conditions in order to do those oh-so-vital last-minute errands. I like that sense of bonding that seems to come out among those who venture out (even if it’s for silly things, like a bottle of brandy or a jigsaw puzzle) and the random strangers who stop to help people get their cars unstuck. (A special thanks to the Chinese man in the alley next to Solly’s on Main, who didn’t speak much English but knew a lot more about how to get traction in snow than I did.)
And then there’s the darker side. My last errand of the night was to pick up my son downtown. I thought the Downtown Eastside would be empty on a snowy Christmas Eve at 8:30, but there were small crowds in the usual spots — in front of the Grand Union, at Main and Hastings — mostly men, standing aimlessly staring out while the snow fell on them. Even the worst weather in 40 years doesn’t change some realities in this city.
And now we’re home, with Arvo Part’s meditative music playing downstairs and It’s a Wonderful Life upstairs. (As a recent newspaper story I read pointed out, a very a propos movie to watch this season, with a plot that revolves around runs on banks, the evils of rampant capitalism, and the importance of holding together in bad times.)
Hope you’re all having an equally pleasant slower moment in your lives (even if you are reading this on your computer).
I’m hoping to use my week of between Christmas and New Year’s to respond to a couple of the interesting debates (and criticisms) about things I’ve posted recently, just to give you a little relief from all your novel- or trashy-magazine-reading during the holidays.