Got the year-end blues. It gets worse every year, even as I cook and bake and shop and giftwrap like I'm getting paid, plus overtime.
So I'm taking a cue from my dog Dmitri, known throughout the neighbourhood for being an unfriendly little bastard. I say little, but the neighbours pushing their children in strollers call him big, as in "see, big dog, careful ah, wait he bite you". He hasn't bitten anyone, although he once snapped at a little boy who snuck up behind him and grabbed his ass. The boy cried and his mum made him apologise to the dog.
It's been a rough year. I don't want to host, I don't want to cook for fifteen people, I don't want to dress up in something sparkly and smile and say "Blessed Christmas!" to relatives who hashtag things like #jesusisthereasonfortheseason or #itsthebravedudesbirthday (how can it be possible that we share DNA? How?). Like my dog, I want to stay at home on the sofa. I want to listen to angry music and eat meals out of styrofoam boxes and listen to the monsoon wind uproot thin, diseased saplings and send them flying into the windscreens of illegally parked cars.
My dog has no fear of the thunder or rain. He knows they can't hurt him, unlike men on bicycles, women with umbrellas and army boys stumping home in big black boots. When they come too close, some primal instinct raises his hackles and bares his teeth for him, and I have to drag him - howling, barking, flailing - away to a safer place. Home is safe. Sofa is safer. Bed is safest. Dogs are so easy, wanting their routine and their toys and treats. People are hard. We say we don't want to cook, and then we feel guilty, and so we volunteer to make a dish for the potluck, and then we feel resentful and sick of it all. People want too many things for their own good. They need to learn, the way Dmitri has learnt, that you can't have it all, even at Christmas. Especially at Christmas.