This is an odd week. It's in between. It's at the end. It's afterward. It's the last. It's filled with comings and goings and staying put. There is no pressure and party pressure and mostly there is cleaning up. Lots and lots of cleaning up.
I like it when Christmas and New Years fall on the weekend. With a shopping deadline of Friday there is a pleasing symmetry to the tasks I face. All the gifts must be wrapped and all the groceries in the house by the end of the week... because even though it's been nearly 40 years my life since it had to be, my life is still governed by a scholastic calendar. Friday is the end of the week; Saturday and Sunday are the respite before the week starts again. So, when the holiday is on a Saturday my internal sense of what's right is already in rest and relax mode.
My trip to the pod-castle Christmas morning was a non-stop glide and slide over the empty roads. The Schnozz likes to rev up in each gear. It feels like a cleansing, a shaking off the old and filling up with the new. First feels tighter than second, which is much more conservative than third. Third can be quick or steady or very very slow but fourth and fifth and sixth are nothing but power and forward motion. When the elderly are exiting the giant discount mall around the corner, there is no opportunity to let the gears have their way. But on Saturday, with a bright blue sky and a warm sun above me, there was only pavement beneath me and before me. The lights obviously knew that I was having a moment, because they fell green far in advance of my arrival. Not that there was any reason for them to be paying attention; I was the only car on the road.
There were no cars in the WallyWorld parking lot, and none in front of Barnes and Noble, either. There was a lonely gray station wagon in the middle of the mall's lot, and I wondered if a designated driver had given a drunken stranger a ride home on Christmas Eve. The Greek restaurant stood alone in its asphalt lake, and the first Walgreens did, too. But this is Tucson and there's a Walgreens on every corner and the one next to G'ma had a few cars parked by the door. Was it medicine or scotch tape or cigarettes that would make someone shop on December 25th? I was reveling in the fact that there was no place to spend my money, no business which could be transacted, no obligations except those engendered by love and proximity. It made me vaguely sad that there was commerce being transacted.
Of course, I was delightfully, thankfully, joyfully happy that there were people at work in the pod-castle. I bring candies and cookies and brownies and I always remember to say Thank You for helping my mom but it never seems like enough. Their wonderfulness allows me to enjoy my life. G'ma is happy and I am unburdened because some of the caregivers have to work on Christmas Day. They are not engaged in commerce, though. They are sharing love.
There were smiles and Santa smocks and lots and lots of chocolate and G'ma wondered why everyone was so happy. A chorus of It's Christmas!! brought her right back to the present, and put a smile on her face, too.
This week tends to do that to people. State employees here in Arizona are taking an unpaid furlough day and I'm sure that no one will notice. Not much is expected as the year winds down. In colder climes vacations must be planned and executed; here in the desert we wait for people to come to us. It's very liberating to be suitcase-less, to have only pick-up and drop-off responsibilities at the airport. I can sit in the sunshine in my own backyard and reflect and review. I can ponder my new year's resolution and plan one for 2011. I don't have to do anything this week. I can finish up and get ready but there's no reason that Tuesday can't look a lot like Monday or Thursday. It's that kind of week.