This week's guest columnist is Lisbeth Salander, who's a hacker but not a hack, Wasp but not a WASP, and an all-around tough-as-nails badass.
Dear Lisbeth Salander,
Okay, I’m just going to say it; I HATE the holidays. It’s crap. Nothing but fighting, drunken relatives, expensive gifts no one can afford, and forced cheer. I’m sick of it all. I want to go to a resort, get away from all the false happiness, and just be by myself with a beach, an ocean view, and a good bottle of wine. Am I wrong?
I have a demanding job, I live in the city—500 miles away from the ol’ family home—and really can’t stomach the thought of the long drive to be with relatives. My mother, who expects me to “come home” for the holidays, says that I’m thinking in a selfish way and should just “suck it up and be nice.” She says she and my father raised me to be a man and do the right thing.
I’m 28 years old, unmarried, and I want to get away by myself for a change. Am I really being selfish or am I just being true to my own self?
Dear Holiday Blue,
Hell no, I don’t think you’re being selfish! I think you’re one smart man. Personally, I am almost glad that I had a lousy childhood with basically no family so I don’t have to worry about any miserable holiday get-together with relatives. If I had to get together today with the ones I knew as a child, it would turn into a bloodbath with me as the victor. Why do you think there are so many murders committed around this time of year? Relatives and booze!
Deep down inside, behind those smiles plastered on people’s faces and their phony wishes of “peace on earth” and “happy holidays,” there's something else they're feeling: anger and a feeling of being let-down. Why do they feel this way? Because there is no peace on earth and very few truly happy holidays.
That Lexus commercial with a “December to Remember” theme is one of the worst; what average person can afford that car? And what about that guy who “went to Jared’s” and got that rock for his girlfriend? I mean, come on, those gifts just make anything you give look cheap. I agree completely that the holidays suck the big one.
Seriously, HB, I wouldn’t give a second thought to not going home for the holidays. Book a few nights at a beach resort and just chill. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. If you still feel that you must explain this to your mother tell her this: “You did raise me to do the right thing, and that’s exactly what I am doing.” In this case, doing the right thing is being true to yourself and doing what you want to do.
Anyway, it’s time for me to make my own plans for the month of December. I’ll be in Barbados at the Sand Dune. So if you think you might want to look me up there, I can guarantee you’ll have a “holiday” like you’ve never experienced. No presents, no holiday music, no relatives. Just the ocean, that good wine you want, and a woman you’ll never forget.
Kristen Houghton is the author of nine top-selling novels, including For I Have Sinned and Grave Misgivings. She is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own. Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories which appear in popular horror anthologies.