That Christmas, the Miserable One.

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 8:30 AM

That Christmas, the Miserable One.

by Stephen Gillikin

It was 2005, the year of our Lord; this of course isn't true I don't think as much as it's just a stupid thing to say.  If anything, 2005 was the year of Youtube, the Live 8 concerts, and Gina Davis having that shitty show where she was a female president.

That shitty, shitty show.

For my life personally however, it was the year I was completely out of academia, met people from myspace in the real world, turned 22, and had that miserable Christmas season.

It was also the year I watched that shitty Gina Davis show. Albeit only once, I'm obviously still quite bitter about it, and eight years removed, I want that hour back.

I lived by myself in a studio apartment in Koreatown with bars on the windows and a rat problem. OK, I didn't actually have a rat problem. What I had was more of a mouse situation and with just one, but more on that in a moment.

I also had a heater that didn't work. If you didn't live here you might assume LA doesn't need artificial warmth. This however is untrue. Forty degrees is forty degrees and while it is literally not freezing, it is what I would term "fucking cold enough for a heater."

My apartment manager asked me a few times if I generally was good and/or if I needed any help with my heater. My male pride at the time kept me from conceding that it wasn't working.

My male knowledge at the present informs me it was, in retrospect, broken. It was filthy and old and the pilot light always went out. So it all could've been worse, I could've blown up I suppose.

In October of that year, I discovered a mouse was travelling back and forth from my kitchen to the wall heater. I found this to be unacceptable, especially considering I slept on an air mattress on the floor. I was like a heroine addict only without the terrifying pleasure of being on heroine.

My plan of attack was to grab a can of Raid and shoot it at the rodent as he made the dangerous trek in between his dwellings. This of course explains the kind of homicide of which I'm capable. I'm just a good ol' fashioned, salt-of-the-earth poisoner. Courageous enough to not hire someone, but too cowardly to actually dirty my hands.

So as I'm shooting this beast on the run, he makes it to the wall unit which is when my wall temporarily flashes in flames. At this time the pilot was not out, and yes, spray poison is flammable. Fortunately for me, I have my life-long avoidance to being blown up.

Mouse distractions aside, the heater simply was unreliable. Thus I spent that winter and the ones that followed like some sort of Dickensian orphan, wearing multiple sweatpants and thermals under sweaters and padded socks and hats in doors. This while drinking tea which probably outnumbered my actual food by at least 4:1.

I suppose I was really more a character from Rent, only I don't sing in tune and I didn't have AIDS yet. I also don't currently have AIDS either, but I'm optimistic about what I can accomplish in the future!

In this state of hobo, heroine chic I utilized items that my parents had mailed to me. One was a metal, jingle balls wreath which I hung outside my door. And the other was a do-it-yourself gingerbread house kit.

So on some cold, December night I built and decorated a gumdrop fashioned cottage. By myself. With tea. And the ghost of the mouse I eventually murdered.

It's weird how when you're twenty-two and alone and it gets dark so early, just how much time drags. And while I do find myself entertaining enough, even I get sick of me and need a vacation away in the form of seeing other humans.

The sentiment goes, if I may wrap this up like a saccharine Hallmark movie I've watched by myself, that life is made worth living by those around you. The holidays in particular are made special by sharing the festivities with others.

It's also worth noting that when people get together, they fight, hate each other, force others to listen to their terrible tastes in music.  On a grande enough scale, people even start wars or collaborate together to make that Gina Davis President drama.

That shitty, shitty piece of shit.

All I know is that eventually, I ate that gingerbread house.

And the Fed-Ex man stole my wreath.

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Stephen currently lives at a YMCA in 1977.  In his freetime he enjoys knitting and time-travelling to shitty locations.

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