Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Attack of the Humbugs
I know Christmas is upon us if for no other reason than that I watched a Hugh Grant movie last night. I chose Notting Hill because it was on the top of my stack of Hugh Grant DVDs.
Christmas has always been weird for me because I grew up in an observant Jewish household where we vehemently did NOT celebrate Christmas. We would sit around all day on December 25, purposefully doing nothing special. It was so depressing. I always felt I was missing out on something huge, as if all my friends had gone to a Rolling Stones concert while I had to stay at home.
Later in life I tried repeatedly to horn in on other people's Christmases but I always felt like a fraud, completely out of place. People still invite me to celebrate with them, often referring to me as a "waif" or an "orphan." Honestly, I not a waif or an orphan. I know they are being generous, but I always feel so insulted. That's my problem, not theirs!
I don't even enjoy the Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food and going out to the movies. The Chinese food always gives me a stomach ache - too much MSG, I suppose. Even spending the day as a Jew I always feel somehow that I'm cheating. Don't ask me why, I can't explain it.
So Christmas is always a weird day for me. As a coping mechanism, I watch Hugh Grant movies. Why Hugh Grant, you might wonder. My British friends wonder, definitely, since most of them are anything but enthused by Mr. Grant. As one of my friends explained, "A fumbling posh guy is not so entertaining to many of us."
Oh. That explains a lot.
Truth is, it's not Hugh that I'm particularly interested in. I love his films because most of them carry as an underlying theme the way that people can adopt each other and become family. Four Weddings and a Funeral, About a Boy, Notting Hill, and Love, Actually are all built around a circle of idiosyncratic people who take each other in, accept each other, adopt each other. I love that.
Two more days and three more films, and it'll all be over till next year. Until then, it's Bah Humbug and Hugh Grant all the way. Oh yeah!