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This is Jackson. He is a beagle mixed with something else. I am watching him while his owner is out of town for Christmas. He is (cover your ears, other dogs) my favorite dog. He looks like a cartoon dog that The New Yorker might draw. He is making my weekend great and also overwhelming because I’ve never had a pet, let alone a dog. Still. It’s been a long life of nothing that depends on me for survival, but I’m learning that animals usually don’t need that much from me. They need food, and water, and they need to be taken outside, which is cumulatively their bathroom.
Look, I am a Jew. I know that you know that. You can tell by looking at my face, or my last name, or my hands when I talk. What I mean is that Christmas has never meant a lot to me, and now that I’ve been living in LA and I’ve stopped going home to Massachusetts for the “holidays,” this time of year has taken on some new meaning. This little chunk of time is free of almost all responsibility for people like me. Be you a jew, a person with no extended family, or just someone without the extra money to travel home, Christmas week in LA is a time where nothing is required of you. It’s interesting to take on any kind of task around this time, as everyone is pretty much in full blown family mode. That’s why it’s strange to be pet sitting, or responsible for people’s airport transit, or taking their mail in.
In the past 3 days I have taken walks, watched MANY hours of television I would never normally seek out, gone the better part of a day without speaking to anyone, and eaten like someone who is unconcerned with ever facing the outside world ever again. And you know what? It feels great. I Facetimed with my family while they opened the presents I sent them, and it was one of the coolest, most surreal moments of my adult life. I remember being 3 and opening birthday presents in that living room, and last night I watched my mom open a present on my cell phone. So, what, if any, is the takeaway here? It’s that Christmas finally means something to me. It means that I can be alone with my weird thoughts, but also with my family thanks to a weird piece of technology, and with a small animal friend thanks to all the people I know who are actually with their families this weekend. I guess it’s just nice to have options? And if you read that sentence correctly, it’s the jewiest sounding thing anyone could ever say.
Merry Christmas Eve, friends/freaks/creeps. I loves ya.