Christmas This Year; The Strange Saga of Christmas Sweater Collection; Christmas 2019 Celebrating on a Muslim Airlines; Gift of Christmas Ornaments to Apartment Complex; The Joys of Having a Big Brother; Photo of Resplendent Christmas Tree

David Remnick in his interview of outlandishly accomplished Atul Gawande asked the following question: “ And we are sitting here watching the end of 2020—and not a moment too soon. What do you expect will be our situation in December 2021” Gawande’s response: “Well. For one thing, I think we will be having normal holiday experiences.” We’ll be able to get together with our families and spend time…Right now, airlines, hotels, and any face-to-face service industry—bars, restaurants, child care, health care —I think all of those things are coming back.”

But what does that say about this year = this Christmas 2020 – which is soon to be upon us?
For me it is not a big deal for several reasons which shall be enumerated. First of all, I hate Christmas – always have and always will. I can be quite creative in the ‘celebration’ of same. One Vancouver Xmas it was three hot water bottles and two bottles of champagne. To be very honest, a man called Mohammed showed up and cooked breakfast. Honest! Christmas Eve 2019 found me on an Air Emeritus flight – had upgraded the portion between Dubai and London so spent it drinking at the bar visiting with the crew. Such fun, all of the other passengers were asleep so the crew had time on their hands. Of course, you do know that Air Emeritus is a Muslim airlines so there were no Christmas decorations. This year I do not think it is flying – well perhaps to London and back but their routes have been extremely curtailed. Goodbye Dubai! Got to London in the early morning, went to my hotel, the Pestana Chelsea Bridge and did have a surprise present – got something for free that women usually pay for – I am not supplying any details.

This year there shall be no mandatory celebration of Christmas because I am now a Muslim. What a relief! I was in Target a couple of weeks ago and there were already Christmas decorations for sale.
Me: Oh my goodness! I forgot about the extra benefits of becoming a Muslim – I am not forced to celebrate Christmas.
Helpful Staff Member: (Laughter) I never thought of that.
Me: For me it is a bonus as I always hated Christmas anyway.

Faithful readers will know that I recently moved back to Marin, collecting all of my possessions from a storage facility where they had languished for six and a half years. There were two plastic containers full of Christmas ornaments and other paraphernalia.
Me: These can go to Goodwill. I will not need them anymore.
Care Giver: Why not give them to the Able Manager and his Assistant – they said they have a tree but not decorations.
Me: What a brilliant idea!

So I did and EVERYONE is so grateful. The Christmas tree looks just fantastic. It is in the Clubhouse, which is closed due to this ridiculous pandemic but it is decorously placed by the window and its lights shine brightly, beaming toward the pool, jacuzzi and fire pit areas. I have already made a contribution to this place. The Able Manager is most grateful.
He: Some of those are the greatest Christmas decorations.
Me: Thanks I collected them on my travels and my mother made others. You can keep them personally if you choose or leave them here for next year.
He: Are you sure?
Me: Of course, I am sure! Becoming a Muslim is not a fad, you know! I am not going to switch back and become a Christian next year – nor Jewish, nor a Buddhist, not a Shinto etc. etc. etc.

But there is a Christmas tradition that I shall follow. The wearing of Christmas sweaters. I hated those as well, of course. Two Christmas-sweater_advocate girlfriends, as a joke, bought me a Christmas sweater one year, just to get even. It was outlandishly ugly but in an interesting way I rather took a liking to it. It is rather funny, it is slightly long and there is a pot of gold located in an interesting place, which makes the wearing of it a joke. I shall don it at a later date, get CG to take a picture of me full length and you shall see. Well, you know me, when I get into something, I REALLy get into something. Every year I would buy another one – some most handsome. So I shall wear them in the days preceding the non-celebrated this year Christmas. I will put them on the blog so that you can experience at least some Christmas spirit.
You: Thank You.
Me: You are most welcome!

I might also put lights on, or around, certain objects on my patio. I am on the ground floor, a great location as people walk by all of the time and it is possible to chat with them. The individuals that live here seem to be such a fine group of people. Met Paula and Sidney the other day – they too came from dreaded San Francisco, moving here recently. She works at Marin General, he knows a great deal about Qatar (the last name of the ruling family, their chief exports etc. etc etc.). I shall have to ask him why. There is a fire pit in the out of door where people gather. As you can see, this place is heaven, in marked contrast to the sterile, unfriendly, alien San Francisco. Phew, is all I have to say, Phew.

Faithful readers will know that I am a baby – the youngest child of a Pakistani family. Caregiver (Previously known as Personal Driver) is Daddy (or ABee in his language, in which I am BeeBee). My mother is twenty years younger than I am (the wife of Caregiver), I have two brothers (in their thirties) and one sister, who is 18. I met my brother a couple of days ago, he is quite wonderful, put together my TV stand which required assembly. It is most attractive.
He: This is a fine piece of furniture. I think I will buy one for my wife and myself.
Me: Or you can wait until I die and I can will it to you!
He and CG: Laughter.

CG and I left to perform a chore, leaving his son hard at work.
Me: I really, really like my Big Brother.
CG: I cannot wait to tell my wife and the rest of the family.
Me; My ‘real’ brothers were younger than me and such brats, therefore,I so appreciate having a nice big brother who is kind, mannerly, intelligent and can put together TV stands.

The family (Wife, other brother and sister) are in Pakistan at the moment, which might be a problem with all of this “surge upon surge” that is happening. It may be that travellers will not be able to return to the USA, All we can do is pray that a flight will be found soon. Everybody Is praying. It is usually easy to get a flight on Christmas Day as people are celebrating Xmas and flights are empty. But who in the world knows what is happening this year? Not me, that is for sure. Where am I NOT celebrating Christmas? Here in Marin. Hahahahah.

Photograph is the tree in all of its finery. It looks more dramatic at night but too bad, so sad. I need to get this up, up and away to London for posting.

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