This time last year, in the spirit of Christmas and the cliché of the season, I decided to “spread the joy” for a month by not picking on people, by smiling more often, by helping others, and by being . . . nice. To everyone.
I hated it.
I was pushed and shoved in cues, cursed at in traffic, emotionally abused by b**chy Lebanese mothers, and verbally harassed by truck, moped, and taxi drivers. I grit my teeth (all of them) and counted to a million as people took advantage of my newfound niceness. People thought I’d gone soft and jumped at the opportunity to pick on me. A moped driver (wazwaz) who I’d often fought with took the opportunity to diagonally park his moped in my parking spot. Every day. For a month.
For an entire month, I had no spare change, because street beggars (or flower and chewing gum salespeople) attacked my car at every red light. I would innocently give one beggar 1000 LBP and the universe would repay me by sending me every other crook beggar in the 5 km vicinity. This was all fine until one day my tire magically deflated and I had to stop by a gas station to fix it. Of course, I had no spare change – not one penny – and my “stinginess” was frowned upon by four Egyptian workers who didn’t believe my plea, “Ma ma3i massari!” I was humiliated and mistaken for a money monger.
Even my limited Christmas edition, un-sarcastic, nice weekly column entries were boring as heck for the entire month of December. I resisted vomiting when I read them . . . several times. I died a little inside when I couldn’t write or complain about the uncivilized rude peasants that were taking advantage of my kindness.
As a result, I turned into Satan’s spawn for the month that followed, “making up” for every nice, good and unacknowledged deed I did. Let’s just say the moped driver will never park in my spot again . . . that’s if he ever buys a new moped.
Since life is one big painful annoying lesson that teaches you to learn from past mistakes, I decided to do just that. During this year’s festive season, I’ve decided to act less like Santa Claus and more like a “Ho . . . Ho, Ho!”
I feel great.
I’ve done no Christmas shopping whatsoever. I didn’t even buy one present. Not even a chocolate bar for anyone I know. As a result, I have more money to spend on myself and buy myself gifts that I actually like and use, instead of faking a smile for 3 minutes as I unwrap my Christmas presents and weep inwardly at the horrible gifts that have been presented to me . . . *cough* ugly prickly sweaters and useless oversized teddy bears *cough* (sorry, I don’t usually cough when I’m writing).
I have more money to spend on alcohol. Yes, drinking is indeed the best thing anyone can do this season, granted that you’re above 18 and not an irresponsible airhead. I am thus helping our country’s economy thrive and helping myself forget how similar I am to Ebenezer Scrooge.
I spend less time in traffic because I do not have to involve myself in the cliché 2 week Christmas shopping spree. I complain a lot less since I don’t have to nag in unison with everyone else I know about how much we spent on presies and gas. I am peaceful and content.
Spending less time on the road means exposing myself less to hobos and beggars who will undoubtedly gang up on my car window, arms extended, hands open, to con me into “helping the less fortunate during Christmas time.” WHATEVER! Shouldn’t we help them all year round?
I have decided to beat the crap out of every rude Lebanese mother that even slightly bumps into me. I will not let any b**chy Lebanese mother cut into the line in front of me because her little monkey wants to take a picture with Santa.
Newsflash: I want to see Santa too! I want to watch as this possible pedophile-in-disguise sits these innocent, unknowing nuisances on his lap and listens to them – so attentively – as they whisper their Christmas list into his pedophile ear.
I will not allow any b**chy mother to deprive me of that; I don’t care how many fake noses I’ll have to punch.
I will not bend over backwards to see every single annoying “friend” and distant relative who’s back in the country for just two weeks. I will only see those who I’ve missed and those who I like being around. Life’s too darn short for “Wejbet” and being around people you’re not too fond of. I don’t care how many text messages I receive saying: “Rita, I cannot believe you didn’t see me for two weeks! Two weeks! Walaw? And you call yourself a friend? Now I know what our friendship means to you. You didn’t even call me once. Take care and have a nice life.” Oh, good riddance by all means!
I will not worry myself about where I’m going to spend this NYE. After all the money I spent and all the horrible parties I’ve been to in the past few years, I think I’ve reached the “I couldn’t care less about NYE” point. Of course, dozens of my friends are going to “kick ass” parties (more like, “my ass” parties) where you pay 300 – 1000 USD per person to have the worst time of your life. As if that weren’t enough, there are NYE-1 and NYE-2 parties. SERIOUSLY?! Next thing you know, we’ll be having NYE-30 and better yet, NYE-364. Welcome to St. Tropez people!
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful and jolly in my own unconventional way. My point is, you do not have to conform to how you’re “supposed to” feel and behave during this festive season. Come on, no one is really that jolly all the time. No one is happy to be stuck in traffic only to be pushed and shoved and spend all their money.
You don’t need to buy meaningless gifts for people you barely care about. You don’t need to have a nervous breakdown to see everyone, be everywhere and please everyone. Focus on the people you love. In fact, surround yourself with them every minute. That way, even if you have to get stuck in a 4 hour traffic jam to be around those people, it won’t bother you one bit. Even if you have to spend all your savings on the silliest, most meaningful gifts for those people, it won’t bother you one bit – because they’re worth it. By choosing not to conform to the masses’ idea of Christmas, I have found more time to do what I want to do with the people I want to be with. I am less stressed, happier and (believe it or not) nicer – but not to undeserving peasants.
I am not deciding to rebel against Christmas, I’m merely deciding to do what makes me happy (not what I’m told will make me happy). I am deciding what and who is worth it, and that’s what I’m going to be grateful for and jolly about . . . all year round.
And please people, while you’re out spending thousands of dollars on useless gifts, please remember to help the less fortunate. I am not referring to the scoundrels on the street that jump at your car window, I am talking about poor children, homeless old people, the terminally ill, and so on. There are many charities that you can be a part of. Donating a little money, buying some gifts, giving out some old clothes – these are small gestures that will put a big smile on the faces of people who forgot what happiness feels like.
Happy Shopping and Partying!
“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” – Dave Barry