A Christmas Carol
Carol. That’s my middle name, although “Ebenezer” might have
been more suitable.
Here’s my dark Christmas story and I’m stickin’ to it:
Today I power walk along the ocean in Pacific Grove - and I mean
power. A storm far out at sea is pushing spectacular 10-foot
breakers against the sea wall. And with my arms outspread I
orchestrate their crashes – watery explosions mere inches from
my feet; white orgasms drenching the rocks below.
Exalted, I watch ghostly striations of upper atmosphere rain
that drape across the bay like a pulsing Aurora Borealis. Other
clouds fold into one another like cake batter and I dance low
down, a warrior, praying for the rain to come (but please hold
off until after my walk).
As I perambulate, I spy an old man with a walking stick,
trench coat up to his ears, dark glasses and a tam. I’ve passed
him countless times on the trail.
No matter how many times I smile, he looks straight through me.
Today, however, I am tenacious. It’s one of those sleep deprived
days in which I sometimes have confrontations with dogs, pull
hermit crabs off the rocks and stop anyone who’ll look, to point
out the smog on the horizon.
In my defense, I am not like this every day and tend to balance
this ledger with days in which I atone for my menopausal
bitchiness. Days when I smile so brightly at passersby that
their faces radiate back my joy. I take their pictures – Kodak
moments – and comment on the splendor of this place.
But back to my nastiness: I move ever closer to the man walking
past, and dogged as a pit bull, I smile and say, “Hello,” fully
expecting the snub.
The grouch seems utterly taken aback.
I am relentless, “Great waves today, huh?”
A smile creeps across his wrinkled lips. “Oh, a great day to for
have waves. You live here?”
His accent sounds Russian and I want to fling my arms about his
neck and say things like “borscht” and “Dah!” But, instead, I
say, “Oh, yes. I’ve lived here 33 years.”
He is deeply impressed.
As we go our separate ways I cross one more person off my
“grouch” list and the Scrooge in me seems to be replaced by a
And then, the instant I reach my car, the heavens open up and
the thirsty ground receives its benediction . . .