I’m sitting here and I can hardly believe it’s exactly two weeks before Christmas. How in hell did I get here and how did it happen so fast? I agree with Steve that it doesn’t seem possible that it’s already Christmas again. In fact, when I try and think of things I’ve gotten people, I can’t remember if I got them that one or two Christmases ago. That’s just scary.
I’m happy to say that I’m almost done getting everything, which is freaking amazing since I had hardly anything bought last Saturday. I just have to get stuff for a couple of people and I’ll be all done. I’m only expecting a few packages in the mail, so I don’t have too much of that oh my god is it going to make it feeling going on, so that’s nice.
I’m still wrestling with the usual question of What to get Trix’s raisers. The first couple of years I was quite pleased with myself. This was great, but it’s a hard act to follow. Last year, I was only moderately pleased, but I could take comfort in the idea that they did get to actually see her live and in person. This year I really don’t know what to do. I might just get mom to take a really good picture of Trixie in the snow and maybe send it in a nice card. What I care most about is that they get pictures of Trix so they can know she’s well. I can’t imagine not hearing word 1 about how that beautiful pup you raised is doing, and I know it happens. I feel bad that I don’t email more, but my life is pretty boring. All I’d be doing was repeatedly saying “All’s good, same old crap is going on. What about you?” I guess that’s ok, but not more than once every few months. Maybe they cruise by here every so often. That would be kinda cool…so long as they can handle reading stories about drunks and pervs along the way.
I spent a whole bunch of time at the mall last week, and I was pleasantly surprised by two things. The mall zombi count was way lower. A lot of the people I ran into still were using their brains, weren’t bowling over their fellow pedestrians, and could, for the most part, answer the questions I asked them. But what I was really impressed by was Guest Services at the mall.
I had bought something for the huppy for Christmas, and I decided I wanted to have it wrapped, just so I could watch him rip it open. I knew there was a booth at the mall where people wrapped stuff in exchange for donations to the food bank. Sounds like a pretty cool fit. But the problem was I didn’t have any cash on me, and I’m sure I couldn’t pay debit for a donation.
I could have gone downtown, gotten off the bus, gone to the bank, and waited for the next bus, but I just didn’t want to. The bus that pulled into downtown went to the mall after, so I really didn’t want to get off that bus. I knew there was a Bank of Montreal really near the mall, if not in the parking lot, and their machines talked. I thought I remembered, unfortunately, that the bank machine that’s right *in* the mall was a private one, of the non-talkin’ kind.
So I thought hey, Stone Road Mall has a guest services centre where you can buy gift cards and such and borrow wheelchairs and all that good stuff. I’ll call them and just ask if that machine is private or what. If it is, then I’ll just ask passers by for directions to the Bank of Montreal and flub my way there. Me and flubbing seem to go hand in hand.
But the folks at guest services impressed the pants off of me! I asked about the machine, and they said that it was private, but there was a BMO or Bank of Montreal right there. I asked if you could get to the BMO from inside the mall, and they said no. I asked for some directions, and said I was blind. By the end of the conversation, they told me to just walk into Guest Services and someone would escort me to the BMO and back! Um, how cool is that?! They did, and that made my day one hell of a lot easier. So, if you need something at the mall, don’t hesitate to call Guest Services. They really do try to help.
One thing I saw at the mall that was quite disturbing was something they were selling at Hallmark. I went in there to get something to just sort of top off another gift, and a very patient woman was showing me lots of stuff. As we walked down an aisle, something yelled at me. I didn’t really care, but we stayed in that aisle a while, and I was listening to what it was saying. At one point, it said “Are you ok? You’re looking a little flushed! Get it? Flushed?” Then it said “Ho, ho, ho, who’s gotta go? Ho, ho, ho, who’s gotta go? I’m in your bathroom, don’t mind me. I’m here to keep you company.”
It was then that I realized that this was some kind of demonic santa decoration designed to sit in someone’s bathroom and talk to the occupants! Eeewww! Can you imagine going over to your friend’s house for Christmas, going to take a pee, and being greeted by that thing? It’s one thing when someone’s floor mat sings to you, or there’s something in their living room that’s motion-sensitive. That is at most annoying. But nothing should goddamn talk to me while I’m in the bathroom, especially nothing with a face! I think I could handle a talking urinal cake after the startle was over, but I don’t want something looking at me, singing to me. Nooo!
I must be alone in this thought process, though, because the nice Hallmark lady told me that they’re selling quite a lot of those! Ug! She kept laughing at my reaction of “Just shut up!” and “I’m going to step over here so it can’t see me anymore!”
I was so disturbed by its constant need to chirp up that I actually stepped out of its range of view. If that was in a friend’s bathroom, I’d be so tempted to remove its batteries. Gross!
One thing that continues to make me laugh is how many people tell me “The store’s right there, you can’t miss it! It has a big sign!” This happens after either they can see me standing their with a guide dog, or I’ve phoned somewhere and just told them that I’m blind, so need as much information about finding their place as possible. I will have seriously just finished saying “I’m blind, so I need to know exactly which street I have to cross when getting off the bus,” and they’ll respond with “Oh you’ll know where to go, there’s a big sign right there.” When this happens, I have taken to stopping, letting about 3 seconds of silence go by, and then starting my sentence over. Usually they realize just how stupid that was, and give me better information.
I think the funniest instance of that was when I called City Hall once and asked them if there was a safe, construction-free route from the bus to City Hall that a blind pedestrian could use. The next sentence I heard was “Are you driving?”
This means that all she heard out of my whole sentence was “construction” and “City Hall.” I was so shocked with how little actually processed that I had to pause so I didn’t start laughing. When I said “As a blind pedestrian” she realized and probably felt a little slow.
Part of me felt bad about that one, because I thought maybe there was a bunch of noise and she legitimately couldn’t hear me. But I have seen people do it who are standing right next to me, can see the dog, and they still tell me how I can’t possibly miss that giant store. Oh I can miss it. I can so totally miss it. You have no idea.
I can’t say I feel nearly as down about Christmas as Steve does, but I understand where he’s coming from, and I do wish we could spend Christmas together. It doesn’t feel right on Christmas morning when all we can do is call or text each other. Hopefully we can start making plans to fix things. That’ll probably have to start next Christmas, but I’m definitely going to plant the idea in people’s heads so it won’t be such a shock next year.
One sad thing I’ve noticed is a commercial for a nursing home. It plays on 570 News sometimes. It tells you about a nursing home and how they care for lots of seniors. But its main thrust is to remind people to visit their loved ones who are living in the home. Seriously.
I know this is a problem. My mom used to work in a nursing home, and she talked about residents who didn’t get visitors. Part of me is really happy that the staff at this place thought enough to pay for a commercial to encourage people to come visit their relatives. But I find it sad that there is that much of a need. I wish everybody would stop and think about how it would feel to be living in a place, not even your own place, and not have anyone come by while you are bombarded with messages about time with friends and family. It’s bad enough the rest of the year, but how depressing would it be at Christmas? Whether or not Grandpa is living at home or in a nursing home, he’s still Grandpa. Go see him. Is it that hard?
Another commercial that I’ve seen is one for McDonald’s, and it just looks so desperate. There comes a point when a commercial just looks like an attempt to cash in on the Christmas blitz, and it comes off as a fail.
It says that dads are always the hardest to shop for, because they have everything. So why not give him what he really needs? Why not give him time? Share some McNuggets with him and enjoy all dad has.
Funny, all I keep hearing is that line from Bob Rivers’s “Didn’t I get this last year?”
Surprise, surprise, a coupon for some fries. That was really very thoughtful you guys. I also keep envisioning that older McDonald’s commercial where these two kids give a guy some half-eatin “pre-dipped” McNuggets for a Christmas present. Does dad really want to take that risk?
Last year, when I bought the huppy that weird squeaky giraffe thing, I had no idea if he’d like it or not. But this year, I’m super excited about what I got for him. I’m not going to say what it is, since I know the huppy’s mom reads, and I want it to be a surprise for her too. But what a difference a year makes. He actually has a personality that gives me thoughts of what he would like and not like.
I think that sums up another Christmas thought post. I hope everyone else is having a good Christmas season, and the London area is beginning to settle down. I also hope that people can make it to Anton’s show. I called him the other night to make sure he was ok, and he said that despite the fact that he was basically trapped in his house since Sunday, he’s fine. I jokingly asked him if “Let It Snow” was on his list of songs to sing, and he said thankfully no. So, I hope everyone’s having fun doing all their Christmas stuff, and I can’t believe Hanukkah is already done. Have a good one.