When crises are a Christ­mas tra­di­tion

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

“On Christ­mas evening, there was no voice­mail and no jokes – just dual emer­gen­cies, force­fully at­tack­ing the hol­i­day spirit in a way that’s al­most our fam­ily tra­di­tion.”

At the risk of sound­ing repet­i­tive, my fam­ily is in the mid­dle of a new cri­sis, although this one could not have come along at a bet­ter time.

My friends and I have a run­ning joke about the grat­i­tude I feel when I dial my fam­ily on hol­i­days and the call goes straight to voice­mail. On Christ­mas evening, there was no voice­mail and no jokes – just dual emer­gen­cies, force­fully at­tack­ing the hol­i­day spirit in a way that’s al­most our fam­ily tra­di­tion.

While my mother and sis­ter were wor­ried about a pos­si­ble kid­nap­ping in Chicago (yeah, how ‘bout that?), my most im­me­di­ate con­cern was the DE­F­CON 1 sit­u­a­tion that had arisen with my two old­est neph­ews who moved to At­lanta. It’s hard to de­velop fi­nan­cial dis­ci­pline when you’ve never had fi­nances, and when you’re young and want to spend the (very lit­tle) money you now have on triv­ial things that numb the shock of adult­hood.

For sev­eral months they had been in a dis­pute with their leas­ing com­pany, in which they may have well been in the right, but none­the­less cul­mi­nated with them fac­ing evic­tion within hours of my call home on Christ­mas. I was ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed with their predica­ment, par­tic­u­larly their fail­ure to plan for an evic­tion they knew was im­mi­nent, but, to their credit, it had taken them al­most a year to reach the cri­sis at which I had given them four months to ar­rive.

As un­nerv­ing as my call to my mother was, it filled me with a con­sum­ing peace that is dif­fi­cult to at­tain in my daily life. I was built for tur­bu­lence.

“One must imagine Sisy­phus happy!” is the con­clu­sion of Al­bert Ca­mus’ “The Myth of Sisy­phus,” which is the in­spi­ra­tion for my neck tat­too, and sug­gests that there is as much ful­fill­ment in the strug­gle as there is in reach­ing the hill­top. The boul­der al­ways rolls back down; when­ever we think we’ve got the world in or­der, new chal­lenges arise, and it’s time to push anew.

I can­not watch my neph­ews’ ex­per­i­ment with life away from the South Side of Chi- cago end yet, not for mis­takes that mil­lions of young adults with greater fa­mil­iar­ity and ac­cess to money have made. And so I brace my­self for more push­ing, by way of find­ing a three-bed­room apart­ment to move into with my two neph­ews, their girl­friends, one of the cou­ple’s in­fant daugh­ter and my 7-year-old nephew, who re­turns this week af­ter spend­ing Christ­mas break in Chicago. Thanks, Santa! Af­ter view­ing my first apart­ment this past Thurs­day, I ar­ranged a hook-up with a guy I had been chat­ting with for a while and who was in town for New Year’s Eve (I fig­ure it’s best to fuck as much as I can be­fore my new liv­ing ar­range­ment neuters my sex life). What felt like a fairly rou­tine ses­sion was in­ter­rupted by my down­stairs neigh­bor us­ing some­thing to bang on the ceil­ing/my floor, in­di­cat­ing he or she was hear­ing too much of my sex­ual en­counter.

I felt like an aw­ful neigh­bor, as the com­plaint was some­thing I wor­ried about for the four years I’ve lived at this com­plex, which is pre­dom­i­nated by straight peo­ple who give no in­di­ca­tion of hav­ing sex. But I was also pro­foundly con­fused: of the, um, dozens of hookups I’ve had over the years, you go berserk about the one that’s oc­cur­ring at 6 p.m. on a Thurs­day lead­ing into a hol­i­day week­end?

Out of cour­tesy, my hook-up and I moved from my bed­room to the liv­ing room, and I told him not to worry since I was mov­ing in a few days any­way. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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