Christmas dinner this year will feature something rather unexpected – a bowl of lovely, fresh, home-grown tomatoes. Not your usual festive fare, i’ll grant you, but then it’s pretty unusual to be harvesting ripe tomatoes at the tail end of December, and my philosophy is: if you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em.
There’s nothing particularly special about my tomatoes, or about the way i grow them – they’re grown from seed that i picked up dirt cheap and scattered in a window box that’s perched on my balcony. When i say ‘balcony’, it’s all of six inches deep and four feet wide, so not exactly palatial. There’s about half a dozen plants all told, horribly crowded, yet perfectly happy to go on fruiting, and even flowering, well beyond their allotted time despite being woefully neglected by yours truly. Last time i grew tomatoes, they lasted until November, but this year they’ve excelled themselves. Sometimes my real life is every bit as out of sync with the rest of the world as my virtual life!
It’s at this time of the year particularly, that i find myself reflecting on some of the things that so often we take for granted in sl, but if we had the same options available to us in the real world i’m pretty sure we’d do anything to get our hands on them.
Having spent far too much time battling with Christmas shopping traffic snarl-ups and wasting hours looking for car parking spaces, before plunging into the mayhem that is the seasonal retail rush, the drawbacks of the sl Marketplace seem almost benign compared to its benefits. Even with the joys of online shopping now taking over from the High Street, that option is not without its downside – a recent purchase on Amazon, sent by courier, gave me no other workable option for delivery other than collection from my ‘local’ distribution centre… a round trip of 90 miles, and only during working hours when i’m unfortunately compelled to work! To have the luxury of delivery straight from the store into my inventory – or whatever the rl equivalent might be – as is the case with sl, would be a wonderful thing. If only!
Then there’s the annual curse from which i can never escape, although i leave it to the last possible minute to deal with, preferably with a couple of stiff drinks as preparation… wrapping presents. Given the choice between running naked through Sainsburys on a busy Saturday, or wrapping presents, i’d go for the nude jogging every time! The whole business is just so time-consuming, utterly soul-destroying and unbearably pointless that it makes ritual humiliation seem positively desirable. After eight rolls of destroyed gift wrap and a couple of miles of sellotape, i’ve reached the point of sitting in the corner, rocking gently and dribbling… whilst facing the horrible truth that having finished wrapping that first present, i still have the same rigmarole to go through with all the remaining thousands i still have to do. Gift bags, of course, are a wonderful invention for the giftwrap-averse like me, however somehow i always manage to contrive to buy gifts that simply won’t fit in any bag, of any size whatsoever.
Cards… i no longer do them in rl. It seems such a wasteful and pointless exercise and one that some years ago, i finally knocked on the head, proclaiming to anyone who wished to send me Christmas greetings that there was no obligation for them to do so, and that the money i would have spent on cards would instead go to some deserving charity. It works for me, but i still feel horribly guilty whenever i receive a card, only to shrug helplessly at the expectant face in front of me as they wait for their Christmassy bit of pulped rainforest in return. In sl it’s so much easier – i can knock up a prim card, send it to everyone i know, and always have it in reserve for those i’ve forgotten, (“Of course i didn’t forget you… i just wanted to give you your card in person!”). Job done! No stamps, no last posting date, no embarrassing scrambling for an ’emergency’ card for that person whom you didn’t expect to hear from, and none of the shame that half a Peruvian rainforest has bitten the dust to facilitate your Christmas cheer. Everyone wins.
Have i come across as a bit of a Scrooge? Probably, but – believe or not – i really enjoy the Christmas celebrations, just not the annoyances that go along with them. So, on that happy note, it’s time for me to wish you all the very best compliments of the season, whether or not Christmas is your thing. Enjoy the holiday, and may you have a peaceful and very special time.
Now, i’m off to pick some tomatoes, before tackling the dreaded wrapping!
Where is Santa? At his sleigh?
Tell me why is it always this way?
Where is Rudolph? Where is Blitzen, baby?
Merry Christmas, merry merry merry Christmas
The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)