Wednesday, December 21, 2005

James Lileks again, this time finding the silver lining in four-days-until-Christmas shopping:

Went shopping. I suppose this is where I should drop the pre-fab whine about parking, crowds, commercialism, and the grating nature of pre-fab holiday music. Oh for the old days, when a man could walk down the snow-choked alleys on Christmas Eve, taking care not to make eye contact with his betters, pushing aside the ragged beggars with their oozing carbuncles and the haggard gin-blasted pox-ridden doxies who chew your unholstered parts for a farthing. Oh for the honest Christmases, when you’d buy a goose and take it home and spend your week’s salary getting the stove hot enough to cook the thing. Remember the year little Tim pitched in his crutch so we could have enough heat to crisp the duck? Merry times, merry times. Now let us sing a carol and thank our stars we do not have to drive self-propelled machines - complete with auto-heat and magical devices that pluck music and voices from the very either - to great broad sheds filled with goods unimaginable. It seems like a wonderland, children, but every Eden has its snake; there are other people there, and they oft do not comport themselves as we would wish. And the songs from unseen minstrels, while short and endlessly variable, are often contrary to our aesthetic preferences. No, be happy we are here together in our perfect Victorian times. Now throw another volume of Dickens on the fire; it grows cold, and Father cannot lose but two more toes.

Personally, I love the chaos of shopping right before Christmas. I suppose it would be different if I weren't almost all done already, but...big breath in...hold it...and...ahhhhhhh. The smell of raw capitalism. Is there a finer scent in all creation?

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