The holiday season: Any excuse to escape the ones you love
If you respond to the question, “What’s your favorite season?” with anything other than fall, then you are an idiot. (Or you are living at the equator, in which case – based on your longitude – I might reconsider. We welcome autumn not only for its temperate relief from sweltering August but also for its colorful foliage, hearty dishes, and active recreation.
For those of us living above 39N, there’s a certain hanging on to fall because we know what’s coming. Like a souring relationship, we sense the end of our life out-of-doors drawing near and cling on with obtuse hope that our death grip on November might prevent the inevitable loss. But, of course, every year it comes . . .
No, not winter. Winter has a magic all its own with festivities, joy and recipes; you just have to dress like you’re wearing adult diapers the length of your entire person to enjoy it. The real reason we get manic about fall isn’t because we fear the frigid snow falls of winter but because we fear our families. We don’t actually dread getting killed by a falling icicle; we dread our mother’s icy tone when, upon separating paper from present, she says, “Oh, another pair of earrings. Just what I needed.”
But you can have your winter and enjoy it, too. Whatever your situation, there’s an excuse to dodge eating under-cooked meat while talking with your over-served uncle about why his “third ex-wife was a wh*re. More mashed potatoes down here, please!”
For example, if you’re single and require a flight to get home:
Book your flight “home” to Vegas and then continue to “forget” to forward on your arrival information to your parents. When you arrive in warm, welcoming Nevada, head poolside and settle in next to the faux waterfall, which will serve as credible background noise for your “grounded flight,” canceled due to weather and/or mechanical failure and/or terrorism. After you “lose the connection” hit the casinos and get drunk. With no windows, clocks, or other means to touch base with reality, when your family calls back you can truthfully say you “have no idea where you are.”
Similarly, if you and your wife are flying to her parents’ house where five Yorkies will spend the long weekend bloodying your ankles and soiling your loafers, a simple mention of the “bomb” while in the security line will ensure your holiday plans rearranged. (Although employ this method only if you are outside of driving distance from your in-laws.)
If the tables are turned, and it’s the family who will invade your home with sticky adolescent fingers and obnoxious dietary requirements, simply embark upon your next home improvement project. “Of course you’re welcome to come. We’re doing a small bathroom remodel, though, so you, Tim, Dora, Susie, and Jake will have to share the Drop-Zone we’ve got set up outside. For a port-a-potty, I think you’ll actually find it really accommodating.”
Be it single or married, next door or next flight, Christmas or Kwanza, there’s always an excuse to escape the ones you love.