CHRISTMAS COROLLARY (RECYCLED)

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Some lights have made it year after year. Others haven’t. It’s the (natural) selection of decorations, a species subject to fashion, style, fleeting moods, or the unexpected, mysterious disruption in the electric circuit that can occur at any given moment of those 350-odd days when lights are confined to cardboard boxes, when tiny light bulbs pop at decibels below our hearing threshold on, say, 20 March, 5 June, 19 September, 23 November… The little bears with multicolored bottoms – they’d lived through the fall of the Soviet Union! – went on strike unanimously during a storm. Then the myriad flowers, one by one, were reduced to five still glittering, three dimly lit, and eight all gone. There have been ivy-like streams of light in the shape of pinecones, cookies, candles, moons, stars, suns, circles, triangles, spheres, dogs, angels, owls, doves of peace and leaves of life. And some have lasted a bit. And others just haven’t.

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CHRISTMAS COROLLARY

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Some lights have made it year after year. Others haven’t. It’s the (natural) selection of decorations, a species subject to fashion, style, fleeting moods, or the unexpected and mysterious disruption in the electric circuit that occurs at any given moment of those 350-odd days when lights are confined to cardboard boxes, tiny light bulbs popping at decibels below our hearing threshold on, say, 20 March, 17 May, 5 August, 30 September, 25 November… The little bears with multicolored bottoms – those had survived the fall of the Soviet Union! – broke down unanimously during a storm. Then the myriad flowers, one by one, were reduced to five still glittering, three dimly lit, and eight all gone. There have been ivy-like streams of light in the shape of pinecones, cookies, candles, stars, suns, moons, circles, triangles, spheres, angels, dogs, owls, doves of peace and leaves of life. And some have lasted a bit. And others just haven’t.

17. Waiting for Christmas

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Squinting through the fogged-up windows, in the serpentine of cars, from the entrance to the parking lot to a slowed-down pace at the supermarket doors – “What does it say? Closed?!” – then fast again, to a halt, at the junction, scrunched-up faces, waiting for the road to be clear on both sides, because, whatever those buyers needed, there was another supermarket nearby, sigh of relief, another smiley Santa listing its opening times, so they all hastily ignored the no-left-turn sign – “Yes! I’ll U-turn right here!” – but the second supermarket, the grim prospect coming true, is closed too – “what the…!” – the discouraged snake-like procession now at a halt again, only one way to go, on to the big shopping mall, that will be open, the hope getting fidgety, halfway down the hill, for a sinuous snake is driving up, faces not so holiday-like, look more like they went all the way down and found it closed – “that too?” – an unsettling wonder, at what they all forgot to buy and desperately need.