We are now almost two weeks into the 2018 new year, and as the holidays rapidly fade away in the rear view mirror of life and many of us feel like a huge emotional rug has been pulled out from underneath us, we embrace our annual bout of the Post Holiday Blues.
After weeks of decorating, shopping, baking, visiting, being visited, the whole thing is over in a matter of days! The hype and excitement and yes, expectation for jolliness buoy up many in the buildup to the Big Day. But then expectations hit reality. Relatives aren’t always kind. Gifts aren’t given and received in the spirit intended. The fantasy that maybe this year will be different is dashed yet again. It’s hard for even the most resilient not to feel let down. Unfortunately, I am one of those individuals who refuse to easily surrender the holiday "high" and am still running on the fumes of the emotional lift that accompanies this annual holiday season. Unfortunately time marches on and, alas, we suddenly find the Christmas Tree that everyone was in such a rush to put up and decorate, now stands gathering dust, unlit and forgotten in a corner of the room ignored by all, lest they be tasked with its dismantling and storage. My favorite radio stations, which have been playing Burl Ive's "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and Nat King Cole's rendition of "The Christmas Song" and other holiday favorites 24 hours day, have abruptly returned to their more mundane music formats.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the weather hasn't been a real joy as immediately after Santa Claus completed his appointed rounds on Christmas Day, the temperature did not rise above the freezing mark for 13 consecutive days, with a blizzard and almost a foot of snow thrown in for good measure! The extreme cold did have an upside in that it fostered a new spectator sport for the older stay-at-home types among us on New Years, as they sat in front of their flat-screen televisions, sipping assiduously, scanning the crowds standing in Times Square in an attempt to identify those party-goers shivering in the frigid single-digit temps, who were wearing adult diapers awaiting the dropping of the ball to usher in the new year! For the most part, these individuals were easy to spot, as they were almost assuredly the ones who would suddenly stand completely still with a slightly embarrassed look on their face, which was immediately followed with a warm smile of relief. And if that kind of New Year's activity isn't enough to spark the flames of doldrums within our souls, I don’t know what is.
I suppose there is also that nagging guilt for over-indulging in all the ubiquitous holiday fare that only adds fuel to the fire of this post-holiday depression. And that my dear friends is when we really hit bottom, when we foolishly think that these sparks of depression can be contained and kept from erupting into a full conflagration via ridiculous and seldom-kept New Year's resolutions.
Speaking of the cold weather, many Broad Channel residents experiencing problems with their home heating systems with the single-digit temps and below-zero wind chill this past weekend, spent most of their time attempting to contact their home heating oil providers for help in restoring heat. Apparently the call volume was such that many of the calls went unanswered and simply switched over to recordings. By Sunday, it got so bad that if word got out that a Petro, OV, All State or OSI oil delivery truck was spotted in the Channel, residents would rush to that location in an attempt to have the drivers contact their operations center directly to arrange for assistance.
The good news is that it appears we will have climbed above the freezing mark by the time this column is in your hands. The bad news is that it is still winter and we still have a ways to go until spring. February, at least to me, is the cruelest month. It is cold and gray with no jubilant holidays like Christmas or New Year's to look forward to. My beloved Grace just told me to look on the bright side of things, "There is always a light at the end of the tunnel." I told her don’t be fooled. That light is just the reflection of a dumpster fire in the snow, which is basically a metaphor for winter! She simply shrugged her shoulders and dismissed me muttering under her breath, "Lord give me lots of coffee to change those things I can and a large jug of dirty martinis to deal with the curmudgeon in my house!"
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