There is an invisible conversational minefield that is planted where I live every Christmas day when certain relatives come around. Negotiating it can be very tricky indeed, as you can see. Typical exchanges (and explosions) go as follows.
Me: How are you?
Miserable, actually. (BOOM!)
Me: Happy Christmas!
Is it? Considering all my troubles how dare you say that to me. (BANG!)
Me: Your hair looks nice!
Yours doesn’t, in fact you look really old. You are so ancient. Not sure why you are still wearing young things like jeans, anyone over thirty should be in a granny nighty. (BAM!)
Me: What presents did you get?
A small candle to light in my darkened room. (POW!)
Me: What are your plans for the New Year?
I don’t have any friends. You should include me in all your plans or I might kill myself and then that will be your fault. (BOOM!)
Me: What have you been up to?
Nothing . But don’t you worry about me; you have to live your own life. I’ll just sit here, casting a lonely shadow. (BANG!)
Me: How has work/school been?
Me: Here’s your present!
Oh. I don’t like that book/clothes/toy. I might cry and say I hate it and only wanted money. (BOOM!)
Me: But you have been given money.
Doh, only £70 so far. She/he got £75. It’s not fair. (BANG!)
Me: Christmas dinner is served!
I’ve decided I don’t eat turkey /it’s yucky and cold as we are so late anyway (SHAZAM!)
Me: Let’s play a game!
Only one I have practised so I can win. We will play by the rules and if you win I will say you have cheated. Just so you know. (KA-BAM!)
Me: Let’s watch TV!
Only what I want to watch, actually, as things you like are deadly dull like yourself. And I will have it at super-volume to ignore the rest of you in the same room. (BOOM!)
Nearly every time I open my mouth I hear a distant explosion. It gets to the point where I’d rather stay silent. One day I will like to enjoy Christmas, and each year I hope things will be different with certain folk, but it never gets any better, or easier. I do deep down love them and want them to be happy, but I am so weary. I fear that my patience has snapped and worn thin, and now I cannot help any further, but instead wish for the day to be over. Tricky stuff.