One Woman's Week: Present And Correct

18-12-07

By Karen Fenessey

THERE are many things that I love about Christmas – carol singing, pretty baubles and getting gifts from people who’ve really made an effort to understand my complicated psyche (and that’s not many!).

However, if there’s one thing that’s really hit home this yuletide, it’s this: however much I try to humbly ignore it, there are many people in our society who I am simply much better than and there’s NOTHING I can do about it.

Sadly, some of these people are my own relatives. My sister’s notion of Christmas hasn’t developed since 1980 and she still thinks it’s okay to hang multicoloured lights on her tree. I, on the other hand, pride myself on my eclectic sense of style and, without wanting to blow my own trumpet, complete strangers have often told me: “Karen, by God, you have a truly unique and eclectic sense of style!”

Last year, I made the bold move to welcome in the birth of our Saviour using a distinctive black Christmas tree. This year, I shocked everyone once again by opting for an upside-down, black Christmas tree. My sister started bawling her vulgar laugh in the middle of the department store and shouting in her yobbish voice, “THAT TREE LOOKS F*****G STUPID!” She really is a monster. I had to hide my face from shoppers and staff, who must have thought I was some kind of fat, penniless bastard like her.  My sister didn’t inherit the gene which advances one out of crusty cavemen times when people thought that trees were green and grew from the ground up. Let’s face it: human ideas have progressed (just look at stem cell research) and some of us enlightened beings say “Let’s toss that rulebook into the fire like a phoenix to the flames!”

Fortunately, as I stood in the queue in Marks and Spencers Food Hall, I met some like-minded people who reassured me that there is hope. The queues were frankly astronomical and when the woman next to me tutted in disgust, I knew she was a friend. “This is ridiculous, isn’t it?” I commented. She immediately agreed. Another woman ahead of us commented on how preposterous it is that next year there are plans to make us pay for plastic bags.” That’s an absolute scandal,” we tutted. And when the elegant old lady behind put in about how she suspected the line was the way it was because the dark-skinned cashier was probably having trouble understanding the till, we all shook our heads in dismay.

It’s always refreshing to see I’m not the only person out there with standards, but my sister had to ruin it all again by making one last trip to ‘Primark’ to buy her wrapping paper. Why couldn’t she just buy it in Marks where it doesn’t cost 10p a roll so that maybe this Christmas, people might see that she really loved them? I’m not joking when I say that the queues in this place were the work of Satan. After five minutes of hell, I sighed to those around me: “This queue’s a bloody joke, isn’t it?” The idiots just smiled like sheep and a woman said, “Oh, I don’t really mind queuing. There’s worse places I could be right now.” I knew at that moment that she was probably a heroin addict and the places she referred to were prisons. All the other idiots laughed and I realised that they thought they had outsmarted me with their primitive code language. “You are all a bunch of cunts,” I hissed because that kind of language is the only kind they understand. “You can call me when you’ve had time to think about how tragic your life is,” I asserted to my sister and I left that God forsaken place.

It is with a heavy heart that I must admit there is a clear boundary that divides me from the other humans I share this planet with. I can only console myself by remembering that, thankfully, I don’t need to invite those people into my beautiful home and will thus spend another Christmas free of diseases like alcoholism, AIDS and cold sores.

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