Last night found me sitting in the middle of a bustling Chinese restaurant, several of the employees dressed as elves. I looked around (it had been several years since I, myself, had been there) and realized that while it had once been decorated in standard American Chinese restaurant – think beige tones, ancient maps of China on the wall, fake flowers adorning every table – it had now been turned into Hawaii. Chinese-style.
That’s right, I sat, in the middle of a Hawaiian Chinese restaurant, served by a Chinese elf, while The Grinch played on the lone television, subtitled. A gaggle of college kids on my left tried to order a Hot Toddy while the table behind me gripped about the buffet being refilled too infrequently.
I was (initially) sober – I checked. And it was real.
I did the only logical thing one should do in such a situation – I began to order girly drinks with bizarre names like “Pina Colada” and “Scorpion” – which, the menu said, to “be wary of sting.” (I’m generally a bourbon girl, if anything, so girly drinks all sound oddly-named to me)
It had been a tough Christmas for me.
The addition of another (adult) person to care for right around the time I normally am all, “holy FUCK I forgot to do xxx” made for long days. Things around my house have been strained, as most of you have guessed. I’m never prepared enough to have my presents bought OR wrapped more than three days pre-Christmas, no matter how much I vow to be That Person. It’s always a mad dash in the days leading up to Christmas, and between the mouth surgery (me) and the vestigial organ removal (The Daver).
And I love the holidays. So having them be anything other than full of the awesome makes me sad in the pants.
Somehow, though, that awesomely tacky Chinese restaurant redeemed the holiday for me. Sure, I got drunk on girl drinks and am pretty sure my head is going to a) explode all over the fucking place or 2) explode, but not all over the place. Yeah, my food sorta tasted like an approximation of Mongolian Beef rather than the actual item I’d ordered. And okay, if I’m being honest, my Mai Tai tasted almost identical to lighter fluid.
But it didn’t matter.
Sitting there, in what I’m pretty sure was a David Lynch movie set, I was reminded of the absurdity of life. How there is joy in the smallest, most ridiculously decorated spaces. How even when things are so, so hard, we have hope.
And I do.