Thursday, July 08, 2010

Summer is no time to be thinking of Christmas

I always get a kick out of reminding people how fast Christmas is coming, especially in July just after school has let out for the summer and when people are just starting their summer vacations. The days are warm. Some days are way too hot even for those who love the heat. But that doesn't stop me from reminding very annoyed friends that the North Pole is a beehive of activity - even in the summer.

When I walked into a greeting card chain store the other day and saw red drapes covering a display, I knew what it was. Last year at about this same time, I saw something similar. When I asked what was behind the drapes, I was told - after a semi-disgusted sigh from the clerk - that the keepsake Christmas ornaments were going on sale. Between her semi-disgust and my semi-disgust, we made up one entire "disgust." Everything has its season - and July certainly isn't for Santa and the elves, although Christmas in July is celebrated by many on the 25th - but just for fun.

Of course, I took to Facebook and Twitter to announce the news again this year, waiting for the messages of hate to come my way. While I think it's quite hilarious, some people take the bait every time - to my utter glee.

One person warned me on Twitter, actually, not to make fun of those who collect the annual keepsake ornaments because I would anger them - and they were serious. I mean, really, what would they do? Burn down my house? Would the authorities find me dead in a ditch, my mouth stuffed with an ornament of Mickey Mouse skiing with "Baby's First Christmas 2010" written on his tummy? Not to mention the Christmas tree lights tied tightly around my neck.

Yes, it's way too early to start thinking about Christmas. There's no use wishing the year away when the summer is just getting started. There's lots to do this summer to keep us all busy.

Like, perhaps, waiting by the Canada-U.S. border to see if an American tourist actually arrives in Canada with skis attached to their roof looking for the nearest hill.

Personally, I think it's an urban legend, but I've spoken to people who swear such a thing has happened - only that they've never personally seen it . . . it was actually a "friend of a friend" who worked at some unnamed border crossing.

Or we can check out the teenagers working their first summer jobs. We've all gone through it, but that doesn't stop us from sitting back and judging the poor kids who are going through this rite of passage. You have to wonder, though, how some will make it through life, with a few of them taking your coffee order like they just crawled in after a feeding frenzy of tranquilizers. "Would . . . you . . . like . . . cream . . . and . . . sugar . . . in . . . your . . . coffee?" Gee, kiddo. I think you'd better start drinking some of that coffee yourself and wake up a bit. Smile. Act interested, will ya? Fake it if you need to.

But watching some of these kids in their first summer jobs also gives me hope for the future. You can really tell the ones who will go places in life. They're cheerful, friendly and helpful. They speak clearly and smile. It's great seeing teens acting so professionally in their first summer jobs.

It could be worse. You could be selling Christmas ornaments in a card shop in July. And could you imagine working in a year-round Christmas store? I went to one once, and as much as I like Rudolph, Frosty and Santa, July just isn't the time to be surrounded with decorations and carols every day of the week. I'm not sure how the clerks in those year-round shops survive. Let's just say their breath probably smells like whisky and the police's missing persons' list could be cut in half if someone were to dig up their basements.

July is a time of greenery, tourists, the beach and complaining about the heat. I like looking around and seeing nothing but green. I love the tiger lilies and the lupins in my garden. I get annoyed at the torn-up garbage bags whenever I get up on Fridays - the day of my garbage pickup. At least in the winter the wet compost garbage I put out stays frozen and is not as attractive to birds and animals out for a midnight snack. A memo must have gone around the neighbourhood to all the skunks and crows, because my garbage bags seem to be the only ones torn apart. I may not be rich (yet), but at least the quality of my garbage is known far and wide among the local nocturnal critters.

And then there are the guys (never a girl, always a guy) driving around town with the bass on their stereos turned up to maximum. Isn't it always so pleasant when one drives by your house and the windows rattle from the boom boom boom of the bass? Yeah, we know you have a stereo in your car, buddy. And so do the aliens on Mars.

Oh - and the same thing goes for the motorcycles who break the sound barrier. Can someone explain why owners need to announce their presence for miles around by making their machines louder than a nuclear bomb? I truly don't get it. Seems like you're overcompensating for something - or the lack of something - or looking for attention.

I joke, of course, but trust me when I tell you this. People are not impressed by the loudness of your stereo or motorcycle. They don't go, "Wow . . . that is amazing!" They go, "Wow . . . that is annoying!" The interesting thing is that I truly believe drivers are aiming to impress, when in fact they do quite the opposite.

Now, if I could just introduce the guys who drive the loud motorcycles and blare their stereos to the year-round Christmas ornament-selling clerks who've gone insane and are looking for more people to bury in their basements, I'll be all set.

A boy can always dream.