So, I really don't like Christmas. It has nasty hangovers/connotations/bad karma/guilt and general weirdness from when I was younger and as I'm also no big fan of birthdays (or, in fact, fuss in general - witness my wedding) I always find it a very uncomfortable time. In fact, one of my favourite Christmas Days was my first in Canada; I walked through the near empty streets of Toronto on my own, taking pictures and generally being wrapped up and beating the extreme (to me) cold. I then went home and cooked myself a large roast Turkey (the food is really the only part of it that I in any way embrace) and enjoyed being relaxed and having nice food. It was bloody marvellous.
Anyway, all that aside, I try and distance myself from Christmas preemptively to avoid any of the 'they got me a card/present, so now I must get them one' inherent, seemingly unavoidable, guilt trips and also the whole 'It's about GOD AND BABY JESUS, you know' rubbish. As such, I summarily banned Sarah from getting me a present of any sort (same for my birthday, actually) with an additional handy excuse that she was tight for cash and I'd rather her kids got something than a miserable old twat like me that'd rather be left out the fuss.
Despite her being perfectly fine with this, this year just gone she informed me that she'd got me something anyway. I was a bit pissed off, actually, when she told me. But I didn't say much about it and just tried to make sure I'd not be angry or grumpy with her if she'd spent money on me she couldn't afford. She was, its safe to say, a bit excited about 'it'. So then I put myself in this stupid and familiar funk where I worried how I'd react, and what if I didn't like it, what if I just acted like I didn't like it, and what if she couldn't really afford to have got it, and a feedback loop of.... I don't know how to describe it. It's maybe trepidation, or a feeling of pressure through expectation. I'm not sure, but I always feel uneasy when someone has something for me, especially if they are convinced I'll like it when I have no clue what it is. I've always been like this, since I was a kid, and have never really known how to act on unveiling presents from the days of Action Man onwards. I've always just felt incredibly uncomfortable and just never felt sincere no matter how pleased I actually was with a gift.
Basically, I suck at receiving presents. Always have. I hate that feeling, and would rather miss out and buy myself something than go through it, if I'm honest. Big brave Badgerman, huh. Shut up.
So when Sarah handed me a big box on Christmas Day after repeated refusals from me to have it earlier (after all, if it's a Christmas present, there are rules, even if you don't want to play) I was well into the 'uncomfortable as fuck' department. I opened it up to find the number plate surround from the Jag that had caused so much hilarity when I bought it; it has 'Jesus' in big letters in the fish thing on it that got changed to 'JEBUS' with a felt pen for both of our sensibilities' sake. Underneath this was a book.
I was, it has to be said, a touch bemused. I wasn't at all sure what to make of this.
As I flicked through the book, with Sarah impatiently squirming and fidgeting and grinning like a fool next to me, it transpired that she'd got the number plate off the car and had sent it to various people that I know all over the world and had them take pictures of themselves with it. She'd called it The Jebus Travels. There'd been a group created on Flickr for it and lots of behind the scene emails and the like to organise all this and lots of my mates had been involved. I really didn't know what to say. I thought it was as cool as fuck. I even swore in front of her kids.
But... then I didn't know how to act. I found myself just looking through it and feeling like I had to persuade her I liked it - which I did - and I just floundered and had no clue how to respond. I realised that I then did the same thing ever since and have been putting off thanking everyone else involved in it too. Because I have no idea how to do it and seem (certainly to me) sincere cos I'm just shit like that.
So. I took these pictures and intended to write something - I hadn't decided if it'd be an email or whatever - to tell everyone that I got it, and liked it, and thought it was cool, and was massively amused by the pictures and exceedingly jealous of the trip back to Uni that my college mates managed to use the Jebus Travel as an excuse to do. I intended to add all this, but have been perpetually putting it off. The book is still on my desk and has been since I got back after Christmas and New Year in California, but it has just sat there.
So, to all of the people in the book, Thank you. It made me laugh and brought back a lot of amusing memories. I'm sorry I took so long being a dick about it to say so.
A taster of the inside of the book, for those that weren't involved: