by: David A. Sylvester on December 31st, 2015 | 3 Comments »
Editor’s note: Our Tikkun contributing writer David Sylvester offers us a contemporary and super-shortened update and transformation to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but it’s not just for Christians, and it addresses our hopes for the New Year. See what parts of his fantasy could be yours as you make your own New Year’s resolutions using our TIKKUN mantra, “Don’t be realistic — go for your highest visions of the world you really want.” And meantime, if you haven’t yet made an end-of-the-year donation to Tikkun, do it now at www.tikkun.org/donate or by mailing a check to Tikkun, 2342 Shattuck Ave #1200, Berkeley, Ca. 94704. Meanwhile, may we all have a healthy, love-filled and transformative 2016 — Rabbi Michael Lerner.
All December, the pressure had been building, and something inside was about to explode, and maybe this time I wouldn’t make it through this one last week, and I’d wind up leaving cerebral spaghetti all over the walls, and there I was, trying to keep it together in line at Starbucks, and the baristas had the spirit too. They were furiously pumping out the espressos and steaming up the hot milk, but the addicts were edgy, so the manager cranked up the mechanical music until the speakers were thundering and crackling with “MURRRRRRY MURRRYYY CHRIZZZZZZZZZMUZZZZ….,” — and it was like this electronic avalanche was crashing down on my shoulders, and I was crouching low to escape it, while sliding some dollar bills across the counter to the cashier and mouthing: “L-A-T-T-E.” She took my money and gave me the look. She got it. Holiday Trauma.
I turned from the counter and found myself waiting outside in the parking lot, jostled back and forth by invisible elbows, and just past the fences, the cars and trucks were stopped dead on Interstate 880 like a locomotive off its rails, everyone trying to head south toward four different shopping malls. I could hear the muffled wailing of the children trapped inside the cars, dying to go to the new Episode VII of Star Wars instead shopping for borrriiing things, and I sensed the moms were gritting their teeth, because after all, for Chrissake, all the work it takes to keep everyone happy, and the significant others was just sitting there, staring at the red taillights, lost in a fog, thinking about work and their administrative assistants.
I was really needing my latte,and so I tried to head back inside, but a dozen people surged around me, pushing into my arms these multi-colored boxes of the things I didn’t want or need, and my arms were sagging, and some in the crowd began to sneer at my ingratitude, and others were envious because I was getting so much, so they started ripping the boxes from my hands and tearing at the colored paper, and the door to Starbucks opened, and the loudspeakers roared forth with, “HAAAVE A HAAAAPPPPYYY HAAPPPPPY NUUUUUUUU …,” and if this is the way the old year ends, then heaven help us for the New Year, but it didn’t matter because I was falling to the pavement at the feet of the mob. Then with a scream, I woke.
I was in bed.
I was sitting upright, the blankets twisted around my waist, my hair and neck wet with sweat, the sun shining through the windows.
All the world was silent.
I rubbed my face. What a nightmare! Or was it? Was I now I falling asleep into a new dream? Maybe I’m dreaming that I’m awake.