Saturday, 24 October 2015
The Christmas Elephant
By the middle of September, one grey foot can be glimpsed through in the doorway. We (my family) all ignore that, too. We laugh nervously, and speak of other things.
October, and a huge grey head peers round the door. Elephant? What elephant? I didn't see an elephant, we say, as we edge round it on leaving the room. We don't believe in elephants around here. Now, what was it we were saying? All kinds of things; that's what we were taking about. But not that elephant. Perish the thought.
Mid-October, and things are hotting up. The elephant sidles into the room looking shy but determined. Nobody mentions it. End of October, and the elephant gets desperate, and starts trumpeting. We know that if we continue to ignore it, it will come crashing in and trash the house.
Eventually, someone takes pity on it. "Um.... what's everyone doing for Christmas?" s/he says.
"Christmas? Oh, Christmas! Haven't really thought about it," we trill merrily, lying in our teeth, as the elephant begins to settle down, simpering, in a corner. Because the elephant knows just what 's going to happen. There will be talk of Whose Turn it is, and who has, or hasn't, got room for everyone; there's talk of in-law and out-laws, and Chrstmas Lunch (or maybe just Christmas Tea?), and who will or won't be pleased/offended/upset/disappointed.
And me? I just stay very, very quiet; not least because last year, I well and truly messed things up with misunderstandings and prevarications, and was (quite rightly) reprimanded. So I'll just settle down quietly in the elephant's corner, and eat one of the elephant's bananas.
(With acknowledgments to B, who pointed out the elephant thing.)