In the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago, more or less. By that, I don’t actually mean the fact that I had the opportunity to go to Brazil for a comic convention that turned out to be a genuinely incredible trip, surprisingly enough — although it really was a wonderful experience, and one that I hope to repeat at a time when the world isn’t gripped by a pandemic that’s peaking again at levels that are horrific to even consider — but, as strange as it may be, what it felt like to come back after that trip.
I’ll preface all of this by telling you that I was, as the saying goes, tired and emotional when the plane landed in Portland; not only had I just spent a busy week working a comic convention in a country where the time difference from where I normally was, was notable, but I’d also just spent a full 24 hours traveling back from there, with very little sleep actually achieved on the plane. I was, to be blunt, exhausted, which might explain some of the feelings I went through as I sat in the drive back from the airport, confused and upset that, somehow, the holiday season had started without me.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the holidays; they’ve always felt like the perfect end to the eleven months that have preceded them, as I entirely buy into the sentimentality and the aesthetic of the time, believing that, yes, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, when I looked out the window of the car and saw that, while I had been away, Portland had decked its metaphorical halls with decorations and garish cheer, I felt… oddly betrayed.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see decorations; I really did, I swear. But I felt as if they’d happened without me, and that I’d missed something important in a way that I couldn’t properly explain. Added to that, I missed the weird nostalgic, comforting moment of returning from a period away and seeing everything exactly as I’d left it. Things weren’t as I left them. How could Portland do this to me?
As I said, there was exhaustion and a sleep-deprived lack of logic at play in my feelings of disappointment and betrayal; I know in retrospect just how ridiculous I was being… but I can’t deny that I take a small measure of comfort this year being in town for the first week of December, and being here as the holidays start this time around.