Transplanted Life
Monday, December 18, 2006
The holidays have never been a particularly chaotic time for me - as Martin, I was an only child of only children and I had lost my father some time ago, so it was always just me and Mom, and maybe whatever girlfriend I had at the time, especially if her family was in some other part of the country and she couldn't travel.there easily. They often said it sounded lonely, but it was all I knew, so I never relaly thought of it that way.

And now... I mean, compare them to these past three years. The first couple showed me what loneliness was, and last year... Well, the big family was a neat experience at first, but now all I can think of is how it was part of some sick plan on Korpin's part to get to the U.S. and then... Well, I'm not sure what the "and then" is, just what it left Amy Sanada dead and the guy in her body amnesiac. I may not particularly like Michelle's mother, but she and Telly didn't deserve to be used like that.

So, this year I'm trying to get back to basics. I've booked myself a seat on a flight to Florida for Friday, returning Tuesday. Not a big trip, since there's end-of-quarter things to do at work and just swinging this much required pleading and inflicting my strange circumstances on the HR lady, but I think it's important that I make it. In the past three and a half years, I think I've only visited her once, when Nat and I told her she had a grandchild coming. We had a good talk on Thanksgiving, though, and I'd like to keep us from becoming distant again. She's had some health problems this year, and while we're far from saying goodbye, we can see that day coming.

Bah. Gloomy. Screw that. It is making this year a little more chaotic, though - aside from her, I've got to do other shopping, too - even if I'm not fond of Ma Garber, she and Telly deserve Christmas presents from their daughter/sister - blood's not everything, or even the most important thing, but it does count for something. Then there's little Marty, and while shopping for them, Kate & I found stuff that Jen's little girl Eloise would absolutely love. Gertie gets something. Maybe Amy, too... Oh, and Secret Santa at the office.

Fortunately, I had Kate to help me out. Guys make girls into the butt of jokes about shopping for a couple reasons: Credit card debt and boring afternoons being dragged along while they play dress-up. I'll admit, I've occasionally done the second, although I think I've been all right about not putting guys between a rock and a hard place by asking their honest opinion and then taking what they say as an insult. I think I've matured past that by now; I'm not so impressed by my female body as I was couple years ago.

Kate isn't either of those - she's got her own money, and she doesn't particularly worry about getting others' opinions. She's the scary type of shopper - the ruthlessly efficient one. I met up with her at Boston Common, and she had a map. This map had numbered stars on the shops she intended to visit, with the numbers refering to a set of notes about who she intended to shop for at each place. Not what she was going to buy them, of course - that would ruin the spontaneity.

I kid, I kid - a little. She's not the whirling dervish of crazed shopping madness I'm implying; she was actually very helpful in showing me places I wouldn't have otherwise known existed, giving color advice where necessary (I still have no eye for that sort of thing), and, of course, assuaging guilt when I saw something I wanted for myself: She would simply find something she wanted that was about the same price, put it in my basket (while I put mine in hers), and ta-da, we're each getting our best friend exactly what she wants for Christmas!

She was glad to hear I was going to be spending Christmas with my mom. She doesn't visit or really talk about her family a whole lot, mostly because she and they don't have a lot in common - she's a city girl while they like island life - but she also has never felt shut out by them like I occasionally have. She says it must be awful not to have someone there for you. Except for her, of course.

One thing that was funny comparing secret santa gifts; I was able to get something amusing and under fifteen bucks at Black Ink while she wound up paying three times as much for a gift basket. It reflects the difference between the parties, though - we're going to be using the break room and meeting up at a bar after the gift exchange tomorrow, while her company is renting a place on Landsdowne Friday and encouraging people to bring a plus-one and dress nicely. There will be speeches and wine and a DJ.

I told her I'd trade her, since it's been a while since I've had a good reason to break out the sexy Santa dress, but that I'd be on a flight south by then. She laughed and said she'd totally love to bring me and unleash me on the guys there, or at least have someone to talk to. It sounds very much like a "no fun to go as a single girl" situation.

Well, I said, give me a call if they're doing anything for New Year's; I'm about ready to start meeting new people - although not for another week. Let me honestly tell my mother that I'm not even looking for a guy when I see her.

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