Is there a Holiday Survival Guide?
…Because I sure could use one. The holiday season is officially upon us, and instead of the joy and delight I used to feel at the onset of this season, I now am simply filled with dread.
I can remember when the holidays meant at least a month of amazing food and delicious cookies, a break from all things school, and lots of presents. There was nothing quite like the sensation of joy and felicity I used to feel when the stores all started decorating and every place that served food started incorporating pumpkin into their menus. But now I spend the lead up to the holidays plotting with my mother about how we can avoid certain of her relations. Because the holidays mean family, and while there are some alien creatures out there who actually LIKE their extended family, I’m not such a one.*
Unfortunately, this year my mom and I didn’t quite manage it, and I just spent an agonizing Thanksgiving trying to deal with the less sane factors – well, FACTOR really – without going totally nuts myself. I have an uncle that I was unsuccessful in avoiding this year; one that I haven’t spoken to since he likened my supporting Obama to being a Hitler youth. I mean, really, what other response can you give to that kind of crazy? He revels in starting arguments and “getting a rise”, particularly out of myself and my mother, but he’s happy to start an argument with anyone available. And if you try to drop the subject? Unfortunately he starts an equally loaded conversation about something else. He took the opportunity at dinner this year to ask for people’s opinions when he said a name like “Ann Coulter” or “the Bear-pig man”…which apparently refers to Al Gore. (In passing, has Ann Coulter even been a factor since like 2004? Talk about outdated.) After telling me it was a good think I’m pretty because…otherwise he wouldn’t love me/my opinions would be intolerable/God would smite me with lightning/etc.**… he proceeded to lecture me on the importance of considering both sides of a debate.
THEN he cornered (literally) me into a “debate”, which really just turned into a lecture when my uncle’s wife’s brother (a doctor) and his father-in-law decided to join in and gang up on me. After being told by my uncle that “What you don’t understand is…” about a dozen times and having an actual doctor start to debate me about health care I was somewhat overwhelmed and at first unable to respond. I’m not completely educated on the whole health care thing… I certainly don’t know the ins and outs of the proposed legislation. Luckily for me, they all poked huge holes in their arguments for me, so all I had to do was point them out. Did you know that the public option will put all the private health care companies out of business? The public option will simply push them all out. And on top of that, public health care will be inferior! In England they have a hybrid system and anyone who can afford private health care gets it because the public care isn’t as good.
Besides, we can’t possibly afford it! When hospitals serve the insured, they operate at a gain; when they serve Medicare patients, they operate at a slight loss; and when the serve the uninsured they operate at a TOTAL loss. Now, I know the logical mind might come to the conclusion that if we put the uninsured on a Medicare-like health care plan, it would reduce the loss (because after all, a slight loss is still less of a loss than a TOTAL loss), but that’s just not how it works.
But I couldn’t possibly understand this… I’m just an underinsured recent collage grad who can’t get a job, especially not one that actually provides benefits.
Anyway, as a result of this lovely little interlude I’m wide awake at 3 AM, too wound up to go to sleep and dreading the thought of further engagements as the holiday season progresses. And I haven’t even yet had to tangle with my aunt who for some unknown reason likes to debate religion when I’m around! The only comfort I take from the evening is that I got to explain to the afore-mentioned doctor why everyone was making fun of the Republican “teabaggers”. How often do you get to tell a 60-something male doctor that “teabagging is a sexual act whereby a man sticks his testicles into another person’s mouth”? Although I think I said “balls”, but whatever. It was pretty amazing.
So how do you survive the holidays? Or more importantly, the nuts in the family tree?
*This is unfair, and not entirely true. I quite love my dad’s family… possibly because my dad’s immediate family is quite small… but probably because they are delightfully sane.
**Note: it’s a good thing I’m pretty or else I’d be TOTALLY without value.