Tag Archives: Christmas

I Could Have Been a Writer

typewriterNo, I’m not dead. Perhaps that’s not what all of you were thinking. I only mention it because in my neck of the woods if you’re not where you’re supposed to be at precisely the time you said you would be, there is only one plausible explanation. Somehow, and I am never sure of the precise details, you have landed in a ditch somewhere, left to face your rather tragic and untimely death alone. Without your cell phone which of course, you can see but is just slightly out of your reach. Because when you are late, even a couple of minutes, that is the only logical conclusion that anyone in my house could come to. I mean what is the likelihood that you ran into a childhood friend you hadn’t seen since high school and stopped to chit chat for a few extra minutes. Let’s face it, a lot can happen in 40 years. Or when walking past one of those fancy dress shops downtown you saw a cute little frock in the window you simply couldn’t resist and decided to step inside and give it try. Or maybe the bus, wending its way through the largest city in the country during rush hour, got stuck in traffic. Nope. In my house, when you are late the only real possibility is that you are dead.

Well that’s not the case this time. I’m not dead but I am, once again, late in getting this posted mostly because this is a busy time of year. Actually, truth be told, it’s not all that busy for me but it most likely is for you. Me, well I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in my chair. It’s not like I have nothing doing. As a matter of fact, while sitting in my chair I have come to a conclusion that surprises even me. You see, I’ve been watching Christmas movies and from what I can tell, the people responsible for writing these things are clearly and indisputably more shallow than I.

In case you haven’t been spending your time glued to the tube let me bring you up to speed on this year’s offerings. There are three basic themes from which a veritable cacophony of films are produced. As you might imagine, most prevalent are the Santa movies. These most often involve an evil creature, like an errant elf or reindeer who, in an effort to right some past wrong (unfair wages, poor quality hay or some other travesty of that sort), take it upon themselves to sabotage Christmas. And we all know that the best way to do that is to make it almost (I say “almost” because you and I both know how this is going to turn out) impossible for the “big guy” to get those gifts out to the kids. Inevitably things come down to the wire but with the help of the Missus, or one of the Claus kids, the sleigh takes off in time for Santa to get those toys out to all the boys and girls around the world. If only that were the case.

Then there are the single Mom/Dad flicks. Widowed or divorced (it doesn’t really matter how it happened as in either case there will at least be a cameo appearance from the Ex) the one constant in these films is a rather precocious child whose sole purpose in life is to find their now “single for more than a few years” parent a new partner. The child will most likely be aided by a mysterious older fellow who we can be pretty certain has some sort of special, angelic powers manifested through the wink of an eye. Usually there’s a visit “back home” where a chance meeting with an old high school flame, probably now the town vet or owner of the local diner, rekindles a romance that never should have ended in the first place, but did. It’s all a bit of a roller coaster, but in the end said child accompanies Mom and Dad down the aisle of new found happiness.

Finally, and this is in no particular order, there are the recently dumped who, rather than spend Christmas alone in the city they know, decide the best thing to do is trade homes with someone in any other part of the world, the only criteria being a climate completely different from the one where they currently reside. Serendipitously, within moments of posting their interest online, they find a compatriot in a like situation and before you know it, each is in the other’s home. Now I get why the one going from the cold to warm climate has shorts and T’s at the ready, but I am always baffled as to why the beach dweller has sheepskin coats and boots conveniently tucked away in the closet for moments like this. But nevermind the details. Suffice to say that each will find a new, permanent love in their heretofore temporary abode.

Now I’m not saying these are bad movies. I’m just saying their intensity pales beside flicks like “Eat, Pray, Love” where, after a four month sojourn at an Ashram in India to find her inner truth, or something like that, the heroine confidently declares to her besotted ex-husband who can’t seem to shake old feelings: “So love me. So miss me. It won’t last forever. Nothing does.” I know I could never have written anything that profound. But that other stuff. Well sometimes while watching those movies I think (but only to myself) maybe, just maybe, I really could have been a writer.

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It’s Christmas in Orlando?

christmas orland0Here I am again at 38,000 feet only this time I’ll be landing in about 3 feet of snow. And while some things change, some things stay the same so while I’m heading in another direction I’m doing it all the while listening to my old friend Brandie. Truth be told it’s not so surprising since she’s all I’ve got on iTunes. Keeps life simple and decisions easy. And you know how I like simple things. Which is why I was pretty happy to be attending a conference in Orlando because, to be frank, I anticipated that a city full of people who lust after a little mouse would be the perfect setting for the shallow blog. Surely I would find plenty to write about in a town where you can explore everything from Space to the Holy Land, replete with gift shops.

But a funny thing happened while I was there. From the get go it became clear that there was more here than meets the eye. I mean how often is it that you find yourself in a deep and engaging conversation with your Master’s prepared server at the local sports bar? And how about those taxi drivers! Each and every one of them had a story to tell and tell it they did. Like the fellow from Haiti who longed for the peace and solitude of his home in the mountains, the one where all of his buddies came to visit each afternoon and where he never had to lock his doors at night. Or yet another Haitian who, halfway through the ride realizing he had forgot to turn on the meter, suggested I could pay him, or not. Because life was about more than making money and he so enjoyed our chat. Shallow? Not so much. Which is why, left with little choice, I decided my best bet would be to fall back on my tried and true “things I learned at the conference” (now Part 1 of 2) since I did learn some things at this one too. Without further ado, and because I know you are anxious to know what I know, here they are.

Things I learned at the conference (Part 2 of 2)

  1. Disney in the rain isn’t the happiest place on earth. I know that for sure because, if it were, my hair would have stayed straight.
  2. Germans, if I may be so bold to say, don’t like American beer. Now that I think about it, even most Americans don’t like American beer.
  3. If you only put half your face on your business cards people will think you are more attractive than you really are. This, my friends, is a scientific fact having something to do with symmetry, but I won’t go into that here. Still, it makes me wonder if the same would hold true for the rest of the body.
  4. Sharing hotel swimming pools with resident ducks just doesn’t seem to me to be a “good thing”despite the fact that good things often come in small packages.
  5. Conference presenters need to stop apologizing for making bad slides. Just stop making them.
  6. It’s not all bad when the people beside you on the plane fall asleep. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s even better.
  7. Talking to strangers in the airport just might result in an offer for a ride home. Before you accept you probably want to make sure they’re not too strange.
  8. Apparently I never get tired of listening to Ms. Carlile. But most of you knew that already.
  9. A cursory glance at the people walking the streets of Orlando leads me to conclude that it’s painfully clear many American restaurants serve portions that are way too large. Oh dear! Was that my outside voice?
  10. No matter how many decorations are put up, lights made to flash or songs played, without snow it will never really feel like Christmas in Orlando.

In case you are wondering I learned some other stuff at the conference too, most of it related to things I do during my days at work. But you’re not really interested in that, are you.

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