Last night the boys and I celebrated by watching the Mary Martin/Cyril Ritchards broadcast version of Peter Pan. On a new TV which doubles as a computer monitor for me, so it’s a space saver and tax-deductible cos I’m a writerly sort who writes writeful things for money.
I hate shopping. But I needed it. But I hate shopping. But can’t someone just bring it over? Ugh, I went to the store at 3PM on a Tuesday to avoid that “going shopping” feeling. It’s pretty, and not hyooge, and it fits in my computer armoire, so I can hide it. Crucial.
I still felt a little ill sticking it into my car yesterday, even though it was way on sale and I even escaped getting sucked into the extended warranty at B*st B*y. The dude who looked like Tracy Morgan from SNL? Totally didn’t get that commission. Because, see, I want you to help me. The worst thing you can do if I walk into your store is leave me alone because I’ll most likely just get overwhelmed and leave. I have questions, dammit! Your job is to be available enough for me to catch your eye when I need advice, and distanced enough to not make me uncomfortable. Like a good waiter. But that guy left me, like, three times and I found someone else to sell me electronics.
I’m feeling a bit better this morning, after setting it up and arranging components.
And now I’ve just figured out how to dim the backlight so my eyes are not accosted by the vast white expanse of Word. Now to work. Latkes tonight.
You know what would make my holidays happier? If people would stop wishing me a Merry Christmas wherever I go. I mean, for seriously.
Yesterday I was shopping with my mother who, as it turns out, is not Jewish. Hey, you just learned something about me. So anyway, we’re at this clothing store where we know the owner, who is a dumbass and a flake, and “sharon” says to me, “Oh, Madeline, I bet your kids are getting so excited for Santa Claus! Have they been making their Christmas Lists?!”
This is one of my favorite conversations to have because I like watching people backtrack and squirm.
“Well, no, they’re not, because we don’t celebrate Christmas at our house.”
“Oh . . . oh, right. Well, they must be excited for Chanukah, right?”
My mother, who can’t stand squirmage, jumped to Sharon’s rescue. “Miles and Jack actually say that: ‘We don’t have Christmas at our house; we have it at Grammy’s house.”
“Oh! So I’ll bet they’re giving their Christmas lists to Grandma!”
Fuck me, man.
“Actually, since Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in Judaism, we keep it pretty low-key. They don’t make lists of things they want.”
The lady looked like she was trying to comprehend this information, while at the same time thinking how deprived my poor children must be that they don’t get to experience sticky-sweet excessive consumerism. I shot my mom a look.
“It’s really very refreshing,” she said, “I’ve never gotten a list from them.”
Then I told my mom, since I didn’t feel like talking to the lady any more, but I wanted to make sure she heard me, about what Miles had said to me on Monday night.
“I remember when we had Chanukah at our old apartment: we played dreidel on the floor and got chocolate gelt and we each lit our own menorah and I got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on a Motorcycle! That was awesome. I still have that turtle.”
We left that store and popped into the grocery store across the street. On the way out the bell ringer called out, “Merry Christmas!” and I just held my head up and kept walking. Because I know that, in my town at least, the Salvation Army INSTRUCTS their ringers to say that. But I also know that, where Disapproving Maya works, the management asked the bell ringers to say “Happy Holidays” instead.
See? Nice, easy, inclusive. And I know that the Salvation Army is a Christian charity, duh. But charity, acceptance and coexistence are all Christian tenets, right?
I guarantee you that Jews would throw lots more money into those red buckets if we didn’t feel marginalized by the assumption that we believe that Christ was the only son of God/Eternally begotten of the Father/God from God/Light from Light/True God from True God/Begotten not made/ of one being with the father/through him all things were made/for us and for our salvation he was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and was made man/For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried.
How about some Latin, yeah? Just to keep things interesting? You bet.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.
Whoa. Like, don’t assume we believe that. Just because some of us know it by heart, just like we know “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” because our orchestra and choir programs apparently weren’t subject to the whole “separation of church and state” thing. And please don’t assume that, just because your response is, “but it’s a seasonal greeting/I’m not talking about religion,” it makes any difference to Jews or Muslims or Pagans or Atheists or Wiccans or any other minority faith. We really don’t care.
As my friend Amy Guth put it (far more eloquently and less rantingly) on her blog, it’s not my birthday, it’s yours, and it feels oogy when you keep wishing me a happy one.
I came home and called the grocery store manager.
On a day when I heard a college student behind me at the bookstore talking on her cell phone about all the expensive shit she got for christmas, sounding totally spoiled and gross, I have to say how proud and grateful and amazed I am that my kids can’t tear themselves away from the Crayola Color-it-Yourself Mini Posters they got from my brother for Chanukah.
They so seriously rock.
Normally I dislike these things, as I really don’t understand the whole purpose and I’m not much of a joiner, and I’m not a total link whore like some people. But Amy Güth asked so nicely (plus, she has an umlaut in her last name, is hot and wears glasses), and so I said yes. It’s like a mini-promotional tour for her book, Three Fallen Women, which I believe should be sent to me, free of charge, for my participation. Kidding! (Sort of.)
Anyway, in the spirit of the season, and of Chanukah miracles, here it is: a meme completed by yours, truly.
Drumroll . . .
1. Quick! You must turn a plate of latkes into an upscale gourmet delight
(as if they aren’t already?). What would you add to them to dress them up,
flavor and/or garnish them?
My latkes are already made with yukon gold and sweet potatoes. For me, that’s fancy. But I think that tonight I’ll serve them with a special dollop of sour cream and some green onion. You know, like at Taco Bell. Mmmmmm, E-coli.
2. What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about Chanukah?
“It’s twelve days, right? And you eat matzah? And the candles represent the light of the star that guided the shepherds?” (I, by the way, nodded sagely and added, “And then we drink the blood of Christian babies.”)
3. What’s the best possible use for olive oil?
I think olive oil is latex-safe, right? Hang on, I’m calling Babeland.
4. Settle it once and for all. Latkes or hammentaschen? Which to you
prefer? What about pitting the winner of that contest against sufganiyot?
Savoury always beats sweet in my estimation. So, latkes it is.
5. What’s the best way to mix up a game of dreidel?
Add an expletive whenever calling out the result. Example: “Gimmel, Motherfucker!”
6. My novel, Three Fallen Women, shockingly enough, is about the lives of
three women. Which three women would you like to have over this year for
latkes and why?
My friends who are far from me: Karine, Ronit and Minxy. Because they are awesome blondes who live very far away. Also, they would have to bring their children, two apiece. Imagine a chorus of twelve shouting, “Gimmel, Motherfucker!”
7. Other than Three Fallen Women (har har), what book do you think would
make a great Chanukah gift this year? What book would you like to receive
as a gift this year?
I’ve got Dreams From My Father on my list so I seem like a smart and civic-minded gal, but really I’d like about a hundred copies of Naked on the Internet, so I can plaster the Midwest with Anna‘s ass and Audacia‘s awesomeness. Ahem.
8. What bloggers didn’t participate in Chanukah Blog Tour 5767 and you
think should have? (link to them)
I can’t hear you, these latkes are really crunchy. I’m like that dude in the cereal commercial who keeps getting insulted and goes on masticating, oblivious to the people talking in front of him.