Saturday, December 16, 2006

It Came Upon a . . .

by Gina Sestak

I'd like to break from my theme of blogging about the dozens of jobs I've held to talk about a seasonal theme: Christmas at work.

I'm using "Christmas" in the general sense here, to mean this time period we're in now. No matter what you call it, most people the world over find a reason for celebration around the time of the winter solstice. Job sites, too, become quite festive. Too festive.

For a few years, I worked in an office in Oxford Centre in downtown Pittsburgh. That building went all out for the holidays. The pianist, who played lounge music in the lobby at lunch time year round, shifted to Christmas music at the end of October. A choir dressed like Dickens characters stolled through the common areas, caroling. One year a woman dressed like an angel sat in an upper lobby, playing a harp. Decorations festooned every available space and hung from the ceiling of the food court. Dozens of trees turned the walkways into obstacle courses. This was all quite lovely but, by around mid-November, I found myself becoming really, really tired of Christmas. I would rush through the lobby, thinking, "If I hear God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen just one more time, I'll scream!"

A few years earlier, the small firm I shared space with had a corner of an upper floor in the Law & Finance Building, overlooking the Allegheny County Courthouse. Every year, choirs would perform on the Courthouse steps, booming their carols right into our offices. We could barely hear ourselves think, let alone concentrate on complicated legal matters.

Retail is the worst, though. You are trapped at a cash register, shivering in the icy winter breeze that comes in with the customers, while the same tape loop of carols plays over and over and over again.

Is it any wonder that I feel like Scrooge? I find myself composing Christmas carol parodies, like this one, to be sung to the tune of Silver Bells:

Car horns blaring, drivers swearing,
Traffic backed up for miles.
It's Christmas time in the city.

Shoppers fussing, store clerks cussing,
Wearing holiday scowls.
Soon it will be Christmas day.

This is Hell. Christmas Hell.
It's Christmas time in the city.
Hear them curse. It gets worse.
Soon it will be Christmas day.

Happy Holidays!


Anonymous said...

Anyone who speaks of "goodwill toward men" never worked retail the last few days before Christmas. Or the first few days AFTER Christmas, either.

Gina, I think your song is destined to become a cult classic with those poor salesclerks facing the angry mobs of last minute Christmas shoppers.

Kristine said...

Thanks for the laugh this morning, Gina! I like a good Christmas song around the holidays, but I think the local radio stations overdo it, especially when they start playing the songs in early November.

Nancy said...

Today's headline is that all those Wii game systems are being recalled for a faulty safety strap. I'm thinking Meryl is flat on her kitchen floor, weeping.

Tory said...

I agree, Gina. I LIKE Christmas carols, especially the old English ones, but being bombarded by them brings out my inner Scrooge.

Brenda Roger said...

What is it about xmas that makes everyone behave worse than usual? C'mon January 2!

Judith said...

Gina: I think the sisters need to record your song and make a lot of $$$. Like the Grandma got run over by a raindeer one. I'm exhausted on Dec 26th from wrapping, shopping and trying to spread good cheer to all. Bah Humbug. :)