AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FIANCE:
Hi my love
This morning upon reflecting on your sister's joking remarks about eluding to me as Scrooge, I thought I'd write a brief essay explaining myself, so that she may have some at least vague understanding of how things evolve in one's life.
What Christmas has come to mean to me, and why I'm considered a Scrooge
Much of my adult life, I worked in a retail environment, and became accustomed to large sales, the pressures of high volume traffic filtering through the store, the expectations of the store, and the zaniness of the crazy customers. Christmas came to represent the paramount apex to the shopping season. I learned to expect long working hours, very little time off to shop, or enjoy the season as most people had a chance to. As the years forged ahead, the demands of the retail environment, the higher pressure of the increased sales expectations, the trend of commencing the Holiday shopping season from after Thanksgiving, to after Halloween, began to erode the zeal, the drive, the excitement to the point where I felt like a virtual slave, an indentured servant to the public, with no life of my own. In years of economic slumps, the demands and attitude of the retail life weighed much heavier on the shoulders, as if we the sales force had to make up the difference of the loss of sales personally. Merchandise was sale priced in attempt to meet the demands of the shopping world, commissions were unfairly cut, monthly sales quotas raised to impossible resolutions, tempers justifiably tweaked, and the Holiday turned from a time of Peace, Love, Joy, and Forgiving to an ever growing nightmare of frustrations, stifled family life, depression, and anxiety. Many a year, I was forced to do my own personal Christmas shopping on my abbreviated lunch hours, fighting traffic, and being at the opposite end of the never ending lines, still being punished for things I had no control over. Like the Grisswald's Family Christmas movie, I was accustomed to receiving a bonus at the Holiday season, and sales perk for meeting the monthly sales quota. One particularly bad sales season, I ended up with a frozen turkey, no bonus or perk, having missed the sales quota by $ 100.00 or less out of $ 100,000. I spent Christmas day on the floor in a corner of my room, after the family opened their gifts. I was emotionally drained, physically ill, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. After being separated with eventual divorce looming over my head, the Holiday took on an entirely new dimension for me. As my children spent the cherished part of the Holiday (Christmas Eve, and morning) with the "Ex", I languished in my studio apartment, alone, a submarine sandwich, and a beer. I was forced to extinguish all forms of outside world connections, such as TV, Radio, etc. so that I was not tortured by the sunken blare of Holiday music and festivity, while the entire world celebrated the most prestigious day of the year. Life had evolved from rushing home from work to be with my loved ones, the joy and excitement of gift exchanging, and all the rest of the festive mood associated with Christmas, to lying in bed in my underwear, unshaven, sunken swollen eyes staring at nothing, impenetrable loneliness. That is what Christmas meant to me for many years and time out of reckoning.
Understand that it is not how I feel at the present time, but a look into the past, and a glimpse of how I perceived life.
Love Love Love