The holiday season is parabolic. We spend all this time preparing for it, getting excited for it, cooking for it, and then, in a rush and a flash, it’s all over. The lights are still shining; the tree is still up; the Girl still sings carols. But we all know that we’re on the downhill side of the parabola. And this morning, it was if the weather were supplying the scenery on cue.
In the past, this was a source of wistful sorrow, this let down after such an emotional high. It’s the return to the normal, a return from that time when everything seems to stand still for just long enough for us to catch a whisper of something greater than our everyday lives. In Polish, this normal life, this “everyday reality” is called codzienność, “everyday-ness,” and the clumsiness of that translation — that awkward “-ness” — seems somehow more appropriately descriptive of codzienność, without that scent of pseud-philosophy the “reality” part of the English equivalent provides.
Children, I think, get this on a daily, multi-dose basis on the playground. They stand in line for this or that piece of equipment, filled with an anticipation and excitement that only makes the wait more torturous. The actual activity — the slide, the swing — passes in a flash, and they’re back at the end of the line. In that sense, it’s not a parabola; it’s a sine curve. And I suppose it is for us adults as well, it’s just got a longer wave length.