Dispatches from DC #07
24 December 2010
Hello there... Rodger French here.
This is our first Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Cold & Flu Season in the U-S-A since 2005 and so far, so good. Anne and I are planning on a modest celebration this year; seeing a few friends, taking in a flick, and assiduously avoiding things what generate seasonal stress: Shopping malls, airports, interstate highways, and FOX News. "War on Christmas," my tuchus.
It's pretty quiet here in northern VA, not least because the Congressional clown car has left town. There was that lunar eclipse on the Solstice, but since A.J. and I were fortunate enough to catch one of these events from our front stoop in Ghana, we took a pass on getting up at some ungodly hour in the butt-freezing cold. But our recent trip to New York City was a great success, consisting as it did of visiting dear friends as well as exhaustive walking interspersed with outstanding dining experiences. (Culinary highlights included Chinese and delicatessen in Midtown and Cuban in Union City, NJ.)
If you have never visited NYC at the height of the Holidaze, you really should. The place is gay (and festive), grand, and trés pittoresque, especially the outdoor markets. Unless, of course, you have an aversion to throngs of excited, skylarking touristes... standing in endless lines... for the opportunity of renting ice skates and falling on their derriéres. But then, we are all free to celebrate the season as we wish, especially when it comes to fulfilling the fundamental and compelling human need to transact commerce.
In Times Square, that motivation has been translated into a display that is corporately, spectacularly, even transcendently bonkers. Standing at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue is like being sucked into a garish video game, the concept of which is to cram as much "visual noise" as possible into an unrealistically small space while drinking an LSD/meth smoothie. It's bizarrely entertaining, to be sure; but, having first discovered New York City in the early1970s, I kinda miss the low-tech seediness of yore.
Rather than wallow in tacky nostalgia, however, I'll just take this opportunity to wish each and every one of my faithful and supportive readers (and you both know who you are) the most excellent of seasons, whichever holiday miracle, myth, sidereal event, or sports competition you choose to observe in whatever manner, sacred or secular, you may deem appropriate. For my part, I say celebrate them all. It couldn't hurt.
And may the New Year bring you, if not what you want, at least what you need.