I am feeling a little frail this Christmas. Something to do with having fallen on the ice and hurting my right hand. (You try wrapping presents without an opposable thumb). I’ve been wearing the same bra for five days because it is the only one I can do up. Luckily it is suitably festive and almost guaranteed to lift flagging spirits.
Then I cut the tops of my toes walking home from work in unsuitable shoes. My frayed feet should be bandaged and I am hobbling like a Chinese ancient.
This morning, waiting for the liquor store to open (panic not: I was buying supplies for Christmas day, not starting unusually early), I noticed that the Egyptian flower seller was not at his usual station outside the Soviet Safeway. This meant I had to brave the Safeway itself to get the wherewithal to make centerpieces for Christmas dinner at Tom and Mike’s.
Needless to say, the festive season is not celebrated by our communist-era supermarket. They had one person on the till, and a line ’til Kingdom Come. My grated feet were squealing their complaint about the line and my battered cocyx was barely bearing up.
Even without injuries that make one feel suddenly and peculiarly old, I always go into a decline about this time of year. Everyone else is whooping it up on New Year’s Eve and I am at home under the blankets fretting about those things undone that I ought to have done. Yes, yes, I know I could be fighting the plague in Haiti or living without a pay packet in Detroit, or be a gulf shrimp no-one wants in their cocktail this Christmas, but somehow considering other people’s misfortunes is never really much help when one feels gloomy about one’s own.
This has cheered me quite considerably though. In Britain in the 1970s it simply wasn’t possible to celebrate the season without The Two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett, on the BBC). Ronnie Barker has been dead 5 years, but Ronnie Corbett has lived long enough to become fashionable again and is back at the Beeb. Hurrah!
And now, just for old time’s sake, both Ronnies in their prime.