This Christmas is not faring well, so says the lining of my stomach; so says the tossing, wearied, sleepless nights. The money goes out and does not come in. My recent Florida vacation adventures cost me half a month's pay and resulted in little of the vacation-y goodness I'd hoped. Now comes Christmas to add insult to financial injury.

Last Christmas went so well, I recall. I had such good gift ideas, and felt so fiscally unhindered at the time. I stumbled onto coupons and was able to give more than I'd hoped. It all came off so gloriously.

This year it's all a flop. I haven't but the one good gift idea, and it's for my father, who - as always - is calling off Christmas this year. He'll get his nonetheless.

I've found a series of heartless, dispassionate gifts to fill the place of the good ones I lack and my Christmas is now typified by anxiety and discontent. I've had one good gift brainstorm and found that even this rare, good idea is out to get me. It's a damned expensive gift to give and if I give it I can't bring myself to give much more. This necessarily places a great weight and importance on the gift and if it is not up to snuff I might just as well count all my giving-efforts worthless. There is further, a dread possibility that this gift would need returning, and the only place I can find to buy it is Amazon.com, and it's heavy as all hell, so the cost of shipping it back adds one more barb to the wire flossing at my ear canals lately.

Winter itself is an expense. I'm forced to drive everywhere now, so come the cost of gas. And winter entertainment is a bit more expensive than the other kind. The outdoors turn inhospitable and barren leaving men to amuse themselves indoors where the luxury of walls and heat take on a premium. I'll soon have need of coats and boots and such that I have somehow failed to retain from winters passed. All must be bought. Each has its cost.

And all this want of money has brought me to the sharp, deep precipice that is my current income. I once made twice what I make now, doing the same work, at the same location, putting in the same hours. But I came and left and came and left, and upon my last return times were bad and my services could nolonger be afforded at the going rate. Spiteful of money, never much of a capitalist anyway, I was happy to accept a pay cut while our business waned. And there I have remained.

But times aren't bad now. Times haven't been bad for a while, in fact. Oh, maybe for others; maybe for the economy in general. But as far as I can see our little shop has been pounding away with just as much business as we've ever had, and for quite some time now. Meanwhile my pay has not raised; my income has not returned. And though my worth is often noted and my labors very well appreciated, this appreciation has not extended itself monetarily, but only at the lip. My labor is billed at $80 per hour and yet I see naught but pittance of that, even as business booms. Five years exemplary service to the same employer: and my reward is poverty-level income. If I worked for a corporation this kind of thing would be expected, but I work for a friend, so it's an insult.

All this and more has been weighing on my mind and resting like a rock in my stomach. The gifts and deadlines of the season, paired with my regular obligations, tied to the one-time loss of a misfit vacation, bound to the rising costs of the season, matched with my unrewarded labor in the form of a flat income... And this not to mention the physiological effects of sunless, gray skies, lack of exercise, and a persistent chill that haunts me indoors and out. Well, I'm depressed, anxiety stricken, and my mind is taking every chance it has to redouble the weight of my woes. Even my dreams are starting to attack me.

So I've decided that it isn't a coincidence, but a meaningful, and charitable act performed in the greatest, and most magnanimous spirit of sympathy, that the potted tree on the other side of the room - that sits outdoors all spring and summer, basking in the warmth and sunlight, but never flowering, has decided -- yes, chosen this very day and moment to cast open a single flower as wide and as beautiful as any, for my soft consideration and health of mind. It is its gift to me. That only I had one as good to give to it or any.

1 comment:

  1. a secret: Florida never offers any vacationy goodness. it sucks.