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RPG Intersections.


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[size=1][b]For the time being, participation in this thread is by invitation only. There is no sign up. Those who have been invited to post know who they are.[/b]

It's almost Christmas, but I don't feel festive. Mid-December now, and we've still not seen snow. The air is cold, but dry; the sky overcast, but without a hint of white.

Stores and coffeeshops pipe Christmas music, but the cheer feels forced. Wreaths and garlands hang limply from doorframes. Holiday lights blink balefully...

Maybe it's just me.

I'm heading back to my apartment after a day at work?not a particularly long day, or a particularly difficult day, but a work day just the same . . . and a strange work day, at that. Several customers wished me a "Merry Christmas" this afternoon, and I was taken aback. It's not Christmas yet. My job has nothing to do with Christmas. The lobby isn't even [i]decorated[/i] for Christmas. To be honest, this afternoon at work, Christmas was the last thing on my mind. But it's clear that other people are thinking about it?and sharing those thoughts with others, even!?so I feel like a bit of a Scrooge.

And now, as I walk to my bus stop, I'm thinking about it as well.

The bus stop is on the southern end of a big plaza downtown, and it's been decorated for weeks. The trees are draped with string lights and guarded by giant wooden soldiers. Walking from one end of the block to the other is a bit like running the Nutcracker Gauntlet.

I enjoy Christmas quite a bit?in theory. I'm not [i]bitter[/i] about the approach of the holidays. I'm just. . . not excited about it yet.

This is my first year living by myself, and I think that has a lot to do with it. It isn't as though I'll be alone on the big day?I'm going home to see my family, after all?but I think there's a certain excitement that comes from living with other people. I don't have a Christmas tree in my apartment, for example, and it's my first December without one. There's a reason for it, of course: I'm going to be gone the entire week of Christmas and New Year's, so why bother spending thirty dollars on a dying plant? In theory, it makes sense.

In practice, it means that when I'm home by myself, I occasionally forget it's December.

It's not something I can forget when I'm outside the apartment, however. We were hit early, and hard, by the cold this fall. . . which means that we've had several weeks to adapt to the weather. By this point, everyone is used to piling on the layers before leaving the house. Even when I'm at work (and the place is well-heated), the bundled shapes of the customers as they enter the lobby remind me how cold it is outside.

There are a handful of people at the bus stop right now, all bundled in layer after layer and looking more like pudgy caricatures than real humans. One man is smoking a cigarette, but you can hardly tell the smoke from the warm breath of the people around him. It's kind of a cute scene, in a frozen, Norman Rockwell kind of way.

I still need to send out Christmas cards.

I meant to go to a coffeeshop yesterday and start writing them, but yesterday was Sunday. And the coffeeshop I go to?though I like it very much?is always full of college students working on papers, [i]especially[/i] on Sunday nights. They take up all the table space with their laptops and textbooks, and I find myself kind of resenting them for it (even though it wasn't so long ago that I did the same thing). Resentment seems like a bad frame of mind in which to write Christmas notes.

Maybe I'll go there today. Buy a pot of tea and curl up in a corner. Try to think of something Christmassy to write on this pile of cards I have.

The bus finally rounds the corner, and the people at the bus stop shift in the cold and begin to fumble, mitten-handed, for their wallets. It's almost dark now?the sun sets so early these days?and the lights of the bus brighten the face of each person as he boards.

The driver grunts a hello as someone wishes her a Merry Christmas. I wonder how many times she has heard that today.

As I step on the bus, I turn to take one last look at the plaza behind me.

For the first time since April, there are flakes in the air.[/size]
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