I love Christmas, secular and religious.
I love the dancing Santa Clauses and the Saint Nicholases running around wearing the parish’s second-best cope. I will sing Christmas songs during Advent with the radio and do a little dance, not out of any irreverence but because it’s subversive; when else is it culturally acceptable to sing songs everywhere you go about Jesus Christ coming to Earth to save us all? I am supremely jealous of the IFS worker at the Big Blue Box who worked some of our decorations into a necklace that lights up. OMG. Baby want!
But I swear before God and all the Saints in heaven, I will NOT wish every customer who comes through my cash lane a Merry Christmas. Or a Happy Holiday.
When I’m checking you out, my brain’s checked out. Everything I say there is on a tape in my head. Sure, I look at you and make eye contact, and there’s some personal flourishes, but I don’t have to think about it. I’m a trained mouse, pushing the little trigger on the zap gun and receiving my reward: getting you the hell out of my line quickly so I can help the next customer. That cute little joke I make about not being able to judge because I, too, leave my reuseable bag at home all the time even though I know where I’m going? I probably used it on the customer before you and will use it on the customer behind you, and will use it approximately 250 times in an average 8 hour shift. Because we average 250 customer transactions per person per 8 hour shift.
Repeating something that many times wears you out. It deadens you to it. You are oversaturated, and you forget it even exists.
I’m not running the risk of forgetting about Christmas.
(And if you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to me in the line, I will say, “Thanks! And same to you!” But that’s a part of the tape, it’s the same response activated when you say, “Have a good night”.
(Today’s crankiness also has absolutely nothing to do with the fact a customer in an attempt to ‘help’ me adjust the load on their cart, jerked the cart out from under a 60lb desk they had decided to delicately balance on one corner. I jumped out of the way, but it still caught me across both arms with lovely big ol’ bruises that hurt a little bit when I try to type.
(After the desk hit the floor with a resounding thump, the customer decided she didn’t want it any more. So I had to shift the damn thing out of the way so she could get her cart out.
(I’m getting too old for this shit.)