Christmas Eve! A time when we can all see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”! The Christmas madness will soon be over, and then we just have to accommodate the other event of the season …. New Year’s Eve. Here, we really only have to remember why we are celebrating Christmas!
Our only concerns in the pre-Christmas days were getting cards in the mail (some would be heading across the other side of the country, while others would have to cross the Atlantic Ocean). A small number of gifts had to be selected but they tended to be uncomplicated because they would be either based on either a known need, or want, suggested by the intended recipient.
For Ray (and for me by association), the period before Christmas is a time for questioning his mid-morning walk routes. Ray likes his “space” and is heavily habit driven, so to head off to Lululemon on a routine biscuit mission is no longer an exercise in simple navigation through downtown Oakville while most people are at work. The sidewalks are the same width however, there are far more people on them. The pedestrian crossing signals show the same cycle of displays, but the traffic is heavier and the incidents of distraction and impatience of drivers is noticeably higher.
Having arrived at the Lululemon store, typically we would open the door and turn right towards the biscuit bowl (used to be turn left – see “Rainy Days ‘n’ Sundays” – Dec 4), but now when the door is partially open, a shopper comes out without any thought that we might be trying to enter. When Ray turns towards the biscuit bowl, he now sees many people milling around excitedly chattering away as they look at the price tag; sigh; hold the item up against themselves, and generally try to convince themselves they also deserve a gift!
Ray just wants his biscuit! I steer him to a relatively quiet spot to one side of the biscuit bowl and give him his biscuit after which he has no hesitation in leaving.
Back out into the streets full of Christmas shoppers and new hazards appear. Children who are normally under the control of an adult are now running in and out of stores and the “Look! Puppy!” alarm bells are ringing more often. Some people behave like out of control robots as they thoughtlessly careen through doorways, change direction, stop suddenly, and perform many other manoeuvres which are quite baffling, and must be of concern to Ray who likes his “space” and “predictability”.
Over the weekends, Santa is continually riding up and down the main street in a cart full of excited children who are intent on getting everything on their “Dear Santa list” and (Murphy’s Law to Ray!) it is pulled by two large horses.
Once we leave the shopping area and are heading back home, our world gradually settles down and becomes more familiar to us. Ray can stop and check out lamp posts without fear of being hit by a passing shopping bag. His walk becomes a little lighter; his tail held a little higher, and his mouth and lips are once again relaxed. It’ll soon be over buddy and then your life can return to normal. The courtesy and thoughtfulness that we often experienced before the Christmas frenzy started will return. Our world will, once again, become friendly!