Rain always on the edge of snow and my instagram feed fills up with pictures of evergreens mounted with shiny baubles, LEDs strung on walls, by windows, outdoors. Your friend (back) from DC, posting pictures of the airports, families together after three, eight months, one, three, seven years. Adorable slippers and sweaters we're told are ugly. In the spots with food or drink for public consumption, surrounding choruses of "how've you beens?" and "oh my gosh LOOK AT YOU." A lot can change in a year, sometimes nothing does.
I am skipping the holiday party. The religious reasons for the season are one thing, the faith swell, the secular stop-and-breathe-in, some sort of great siblinghood of humanity. But the scheduled reality of the holiday season is a dedicated break for everyone with work seasons recognized by the Government as Regular. Say 7-10am to 4-7pm, five days a week, give or take a project here, three day weekend there. The holiday party is, was, and will always be scheduled on a Friday night, or maybe Saturday afternoon, depending if the hosts have children, how many hugs they want to give in one evening.
This is why, anymore, as a service industry worker, when people ask me about the Holidays, it's roughly the same for me as Friday afternoons when a well-meaning will say "so, looking forward to the weekend?" and I make a decision whether to say "yes, sure" or whether to say "actually, it's my Tuesday. I work tonight, tomorrow. . ." But that analogy assumes a direct, linear work week, when often, shifts are scattered in such a fashion that there's no functional end of week.
This extends far beyond food-and-drink workers; think also of the Nurses, Bus Drivers, Cops, Firemen, Grocery Store Employees, and many more professions that are so necessary to society as to not be able to shut down for more than a day (I'd say the food/drink is a soft-necessity; there's an amount of emotional labor that bartenders take on during the holidays especially). . .
It is a bit surreal to have the lights up around town, the constants of holiday greetings sincere and ironic on every feed, the cousins and friends in from out of town that, likely, I won't get to see, the entirety of Puget Sound rushing to relax, connect, get Meaningful during a handful of days, to walk in, and among it, but feel so solidly disconnected; like watching cars on the freeway from Jose Rizal Bridge, wondering if they'll get where they want in time.