Monday, December 22, 2014
Holiday Blues and Blahs
For a while I’ve been aware of slipping into a gloomy funk as the Xmas season approaches. At first I thought that it was just a routine holiday depression. But this time I realized that my bad mood sets in the very moment that Daylight Savings Time ends. It’s such a shock -- getting cold and dark before 6 p.m. And it’s not simply a matter of unpleasant weather. The loss of daylight is just one sign that the forces of darkness are creeping through the ether and taking over our lives.
There are many illustrations of bad things accompanying the onset of darkness. For example, we always spend more time huddling around the TV when the days get shorter. This year, though, our cable TV stopped working correctly just when we needed it most. The cable guy came, and he fiddled around with the knobs and wires. Then he explained that our problem was due to a city-wide collapse that would take their engineers a couple of weeks to correct. If they already knew it was a system-wide problem, why did they send a technician to our house to explain that in person? Maybe they think customers will be less irate if there’s a personal touch.
Soon after our cable TV started acting up our elevator stopped working altogether. The elevator came with our house, and, though we don’t really need it, Katja likes to have it available. She called various elevator repair companies, but none would come because we’re a private household and their liability insurance wouldn’t apply. Finally she got someone from a medical supply company to come. They installed a new cable for $1,500. The elevator worked for four days before it stopped functioning again. Fortunately, the repair job had a thirty-day warranty, so they came the next time for free. Then it broke again five days later. Still under warranty, they fixed it once more, but it continued breaking down every week or so. This happened at least six times in the last eight weeks. The technicians seem quite relaxed – almost jolly -- about it and told us to just call them and they’ll be happy to come back as often as needed. Now it stopped working again yesterday. I guess the elevator repairmen will just be permanent visitors to our house.
Before Thanksgiving Katja came home in a state of distress and reported that she’d been in a three-car accident on Ludlow Avenue. Some guy had cut in front of the car just ahead of her, that driver had hit her brakes, Katja ran into her, and somebody behind Katja then ran into her. Though the person who caused the accident simply drove away, the police gave citations to Katja and the driver who collided with her. Our car survived but was in the shop for three weeks. Then Katja and I both got registered letters from a local lawyer announcing that we were each being sued for $25,000. Katja was being sued for being negligent for crashing into another car. I was being sued because the car was registered in my name and I had negligently allowed Katja to drive it. This was a nasty business which has left us in a constant state of anxiety, even though we anticipate that the insurance company will take care of it. To make matters worse, Katja then got a letter from the Municipal Court reporting that her driver’s license had been suspended for mysterious reasons. It required a couple of days of not driving but she was eventually able to clear it up by paying a $150 fine.
Then, when it seemed there wasn’t much else that could go wrong, Katja lost her I-phone. We searched Katja’s purse, the clothes she’d been wearing, the car, and all around the house, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. After a week, Katja decided to go to her cell phone provider and get a new phone. As a final check, she completely emptied her purse. Miracle of miracles, there was her phone at the bottom of the purse, its black face looking upwards, making it practically invisible.
Many other things have gone awry in recent weeks, but I’m sure you get the idea. Yesterday (Dec. 21) was the shortest day of the year, and this means that hours of daylight as well as life in general will be looking up in coming weeks. According to the Weather Channel, sunset was at 5:20 p.m. yesterday, and it will be at 5:20 again today. Tomorrow it’s 5:21 p.m., and it will be 5:21 again on Wednesday. Then 5:22 for a couple of days. It looks like we can count on 30 seconds more daylight each day. Thirty seconds may not seem like that much, but, when you’re desperate, every little bit helps. We can hardly wait for the New Year to arrive.
-Linda C (12-22): It might be light longer only for a few seconds, but look at all the religions that have light festivities to celebrate. I'm just happy the sun is moving in a proper way so I can praise a sun god and think I will get my share of grain next year. Otherwise, I agree the time change makes me a little nuts. Happy day after winter solstice . Love to you both, Linda
-Phyllis S-S (12-22): But that's 30 seconds to the good both morning and evening. It adds up, and pretty soon its spring.