So there goes another predictable Christmas, shuffling off just like all the others in recent years; going to my Mum's new house, sleeping on a strange bed, eating too much and developing an invincibility towards alcohol, playing a boardgame, and preparing for another unremarkable year with a two-stone flab surplus to undo and a vicious exercise regime to embark upon.
I got to this wet, just-North-of-London suburb (where I still am) on Sunday 23rd as my sister was having her 40th party which was odd, mainly because I got to meet a whole bunch of her friends I haven't seen for about ten years. They all appeared trapped in some kind of anti-ageing vortex, looking exactly as they did when I last saw them, or else I've aged too and I can't tell. I made a sterling effort not to get too pissed and offend anyone, although my sister got drunk enough to talk to me at the end to say we should keep in touch more often. I nodded in vague acknowledgment. The last time she made the same comment was in 1995, about 20 minutes after my Grandma had breathed her last and was lying about three feet away from us, not doing very much at all.
I was vaguely intrigued by the party. A few of my sister's friends were 'single', I had been told. What I hadn't been told was that they're all older, divorced and more bitter than me.
I'd like a brand new car thank you, not an angry second hand model with kids.
Monday, Christmas Eve, was filed under wasted, a day spent walking about my Mum's bungalow being scorched alive by her central heating set to 'boiling mercury', and yelling over the sound of three unwatched TVs with the volume up full. My only respite was going with my Stepdad to the Tescos Metropolis in the industrial warehousing wastelands about five minutes away. It was heaving, of course, full of England's multicultural hues buying booze and pies in honour of Jesus, or Baal, or the god of Not Having To Go To Work For A While (unless you happen to work at Tescos Watford). I offered to buy my own share of food during the Xmas period lest my Stepdad be offended by the sight of me feeding my face from his larder. He agreed, so I bought a pallet's worth of crisps and made them all soup later that evening (my new leek, spinach and potato concoction I've only just learnt how to make.)
After contemplating suicide I decided on bed instead when, almost immediately, my Mum's cat managed to open the bedroom door - I'm still not sure how - so she could miaow at me for eight hours and keep me perpetually awake. Three times during the night I was forced out of bed to open the damn door, but I'd mistaken Miaow ("Open the door and let me out") with Miaow ("Wake up fatty, and tickle my chin.")
Christmas itself was its usual whimper. It was raining heavily as I exchanged my four presents with Mum and Stepdad in return for a calendar of my nieces on holiday, some decent aftershave, and a digital camera with French factory settings, and full instructions.
We then went on to an Italian restaurant full of Jews where my Stepdad recognised one couple, the woman of whom came over to spend an alarming amount of time stroking my back and shoulders despite us never having met before.
My Dad called later that evening to thank me for his presents and offer profound apologies on behalf of himself and my Stepmother for not actually buying me anything. So, I spent anonther small fortune on four presents to get nothing back.
Season of giving, my arse. I want my fucking book tokens.
I spent last night like I'd spent all the others; alone watching Family Guy back-to-back, or else a quite interesting documentary on the real Jesus, or a Charles Dickens documentary with Griff Rhys Jones, or Ross fucking Kemp on Gangs, or the Motorcycle Diaries, or Costa Del Crime, while I force-fed myself beigels and struggled to breathe.
And so to today. I have watched bits of a Merry Muppet Christmas and have now showered, spending the last ten minutes mopping up because the fucking shower curtain doesn't actually reach the floor. I will soon be off to my sister's where I can throw presents at my nieces (who greet me not with open arms excitedly yelling 'Uncle Fweng! Uncle Fweng!!', but are actually instructed by my sibling or humourless brother-In-Law to walk dutifully up to me with their arms to their sides while I give them enthusiastic hugs, a bit like gleefully hugging an eight-year-old steel girder.)
So that's that. I actually prefer the post-Xmas, pre-New year gap where I can go back to my flat with Large Northern Flatmate and compare festive stories of gluttony and guilt, whilst concentrating on the year ahead, another year where I attempt to,
* Lose weight
* Exercise like an army recruit and tone the fuck up
* Quit smoking
* Get a better paid, more interesting job
then get depressed because these are exactly the same resolutions as last year, and the year before that and the year before that, and I'm a complete fucking cunt who's good for nothing but bitching and weight gain.
Utter, utter, utter useless twat.
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!!!