November brings out worst in me


There are certain days I look forward to each year.

For instance, I anticipate St. Patrick’s Day, opening day of the baseball season and the first of each month so I can flip my Coastal Point calendar to the new month to see what aesthetically-pleasing photograph awaits (Shameless Plug: To secure your copy of the annual Coastal Point calendar, call Monica at 539-1788).

It was with a feeling of joy I flipped my calendar on Wednesday, and I was pretty pleased to see one of Susan Lyons’ spectacular shots from the Assawoman Canal greeting me. However, looking at the month, I got a little light-headed. November.

That’s it. The beginning of my least favorite stretch of the year. The dawn of the annual holiday season, and the starting gate for all things stressful and expensive. The most wonderful time of the year?

Bah-humbug.

Where many see joy and love, I see nothing but price tags and travel arrangements. What some see as a time of warmth and unity, I view as a concensus cease-fire — while big problems remain unsolved. Oh, give me the turkey and the family, but you can keep the gift lists and syrupy music.

Am I just cynical about the message — frustrated with how religious and nationalistic days of observance have been replaced with commercialism and false platitudes for the masses? Probably a little bit, but I’m not ready to single this time out above all others for the loss of direction. We celebrate the Fourth of July with huge waves of patriotism crashing all around us, and follow up the next day by reverting to our formerly-uninterested ripples of indifference. But that’s human nature — particularly in this country. We gather together in full force for the cause of Katrina victims for a few weeks, then revert back to “CSI” reruns as the survivors of the storm continue to search for roofs and crumbs.

Can you tell I’m already getting agitated?

I’m trying to cling to the days before November arrived. Sitting back in my chair at the Coastal Point multiplex, I reflect on those last few days of October. I think of little kids dressed in their Halloween best (I know, another holiday that is celebrated in a way completely different than its origins, but I actually prefer the modern version in this case). I smile at the thought of Mechelle Brennan celebrating her birthday on “Mischief Night” and Bill Reid having his on Halloween — proof again of the self-fulfilling prophecy on both counts.

I manage to get in a little semblance of joy as I recall the Yankees getting annihilated in the playoffs, and my head feels much better after I remember a visit I had with Point legend Sam Harvey late in the month.

Deep breath. Yes, that’s better. Now I’m ready to face what November brings my way.

Fortunately, this is a November that brings us mid-term elections. On a national scale, Democrats and Republicans engage in a philosophical tug-of-war over the issues in hopes of securing the majority of the Senate and House of Representatives. The particular leanings of one or both of these legislative bodies can directly affect the status of important issues like abortion, our nation’s role in foreign policies, budget requests for things like beach replenishment and highway projects, policies on welfare reform and, apparently, which side is stinkier.

And here’s where I slide down that spiral of November depression again.

Remember the “I like Ike” buttons worn with pride by supports of Eisenhower during his campaign? Well, nowadays it would probably be more appropriate for supporters to wear “I like Joe Smith — if, for no other reason, at least he’s not John Doe.”

Negativity and mud-slinging has become more important in races — particularly for national positions where national donations come in to play more frequently — than genuine admiration for a candidate’s leaderships skills or stances on important issues. Want to get a Democrat elected? Just state that the Republican is friends with President Bush. Want to see a Republican in that position? Just float it out there that the Democrat is anti-Christian or against members of the armed forces.

It’s formulaic. It’s predictable. And it’s non-constructive. It has all the elements of my first marriage except for ...

But I digress.

Man, this stuff drives me crazy. I can’t wait for the holidays to finally get here.