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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mass Confusion

I'm fascinated with the way our experiences can shape not only our behaviors but our tastes. That's probably also why I love the moments when a light bulb goes on in my head and I realize why I feel the way I do about something, or why I think the way I do about something. I had two flashing light bulbs within two days this week, both related to the Christmas holiday.

A couple of days ago, someone ended a post on social media by observing that a certain song was not a Christmas carol. Being familiar with the song in question, I totally agreed. I wanted to comment about a song I have heard on the Christmas playlist of one of our Denver radio stations. Neither Trent nor I consider this a Christmas song, and are always a bit stymied when we hear it on the radio amidst the holiday music marathon. The song I am referring to is Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. Although the song is about things that make the person feel better, I don't think of it as a Christmas tune.

The person to whom I had replied responded that it didn't bother her to hear it played as a Christmastime song. Huh, I thought. I've always thought of that as a summertime song. Flash! The light bulb came on in my head. When I was a new teen (or an almost-teen), one of the local movie theaters was playing The Sound of Music for several weeks during the summer. I don't know if it was an official re-release or a shrewd deal on the part of the theater, but I didn't care. My friends and I must have seen the movie at least five times. Well, at least four, but I know we went to see it at every opportunity. Suddenly everything made sense. Since I saw it in the theater so much during that magical summer, it became a summertime movie in my mind. I imagine it may always be that way in my thoughts, but I am okay with that.

The other thing had to do with my brain's confusion regarding Christmas Day. While we were on our travels yesterday in rapidly-falling snow, I made the remark to Trent that the timing of the storm was inconvenient because we had to go to a doctor's appointment the next day. Trent gently reminded me that it was Friday and the doctor's appointment was on Monday. Why do I always seem to think that Christmas is a Sunday?

Again with the light bulb. I don't remember what it was like with my parents in Chicago, but Alice and Bill always went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. In some dim area of my mind, Christmas=church=Sunday. Hey, it's not genius quality, but it's my brain and I intend to keep it. Incidentally, I was never a big fan of Midnight Mass, and was quite relieved when I found that Gram didn't care for it very much either, relieving me of the dreaded occasion. It wasn't the Mass that bothered me. I appreciated all of the ceremony and joyous reverence. The priest walked down the aisle with incense, filling the air with a scent that told our brains that it was, indeed, Christmas.

What I hated was the bigger picture. It was the middle of the night and even though you were excited for Christmas, you were also very tired. You were roused up and got dressed in your best and warmest dress. Boots were pulled on, along with hats, gloves, and scarves. The church, which was very well heated, was full almost beyond capacity. So there you were, in a very hot church full of all of the people that only went once or twice a year. The pews were packed and people were standing in the back. Although I was allowed to remove my gloves and unbutton my coat, I had to keep everything on in that horribly hot church. As the Mass progressed, the church and I both got hotter and hotter. I felt sicker and sicker. Heaven forbid that I get sick, though! It would end up with punishment from Alice, perhaps even a beating accompanied by her litany of me doing stupid things like this because I just wanted to get attention. Whatever kind of attention she was giving, I didn't want it. I tried very hard to keep it together so that I'd still be able to get some gifts from Santa.

So I learned the reasons behind a couple of my mental quirks this week. Like I said, I will probably still feel summery when I hear Julie Andrews singing, but maybe I will also have memories of a delightful summer watching a wonderful movie. As far as Christmas, maybe I can reverse the Mass confusion some day. It could be worse, though. I could have a mental mixup that turned Christmas into a Monday... 





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