What I would love to do right now is book a Christmas ticket to the tropics. That's right. I'm so fed up with let's-pick-a-fancy-restaurant politics that I'd rather dine with Gollum on Bora Bora and have an elf for dessert.
"Son, we're family. It's important to be together." Says who, Mom? Santa? Chef-and-owners around the globe who won't hesitate to rip you off when it's — I quote — important to be together? Try and make a table reservation... "It's only $50 a plate, sir." Only $50. Is that so? And that's coming from a waiter who is making, what, $8 an hour? Extortion in the name of everything that's holy: uncle "Big Belly" Bob sitting right next to me staring at the whole left side of the menu talking about how the world used to be a better place and how food used to be so much cheaper ("I know, uncle Bob. I know."); his wife talking about whatever springs to mind until your ears say, No more! and wish they were on Bora too; Mrs. Blue Bollywood Princess dreaming about Diwali ("Yeah, it's just like Christmas, uncle. People decorate their homes with little lights, just like we do."); and Momma Bear barely able to keep her eyes open 'cause she's so used to going to bed at nine and waking up at four. The list is endless. Extortion in the name of family fun.
The thing is... I'd rather stay at home and not be on my best behavior. I'd rather celebrate Christmas far away from strangers who get so annoyed when your little nephew makes more noise than a foghorn because he wants to be at home, too. I love our own Christmas tree. It took me hours to decorate it, for crying out loud. I couldn't care less about that posh excuse for a Christmas tree in some local restaurant. Christmas shouldn't be celebrated in a stranger's home. It should be celebrated where everybody loves you, and not because you get to pay a hefty sum and the tip had better be good.
Do you know what I mean?
But this year we're going to some fancy place because my vote don't mean shit. Let me rephrase that in the name of family togetherness and grammar fetishists alike: my vote has found itself completely outnumbered (unless I raise my voice, which I don't feel like doing). Christmas is the time of year when we have to be one happy family. It's when lots of otherwise trivial decisions suddenly gain importance, like how much do we spend on gifts, where do we meet up... Boro Bora, why are you so expensive?
Should I raise my voice and insist that we be a fun and happy family in the vicinity of our own friggin' Christmas tree? Should I tell them that fancy dinners don't define the spirit of Christmas in my book? Am I being difficult again?