I present to you the first two sentences of the short story “The Monologue,” by Simone de Beauvoir:
“The silly bastards! I drew the curtains they keep the stupid colored lanterns and the fairy lights on the Christmas trees out of the apartment but the noises come in through the walls.”
So this, the reader warmly thinks, is a Christmas story!
Um, rather, coldly, you say?
Be that as it may, this Christmas story, true to its title, is, definitively, a monologue. But rant is the more appropriate word. (I don’t know the story’s title in the original French. But let’s not go down that rabbit hole today, as we did last time.)
The female ranter begins by inveighing against some men who, apparently, have the gall to make merry, during the holiday season, outside her apartment. And then comes one of my favorite sentences in the entire short story collection (titled The Woman Destroyed):
“The swine they are shattering my eardrums I’ve no more plugs the last two are jamming the telephone bell they are utterly repulsive yet still I’d rather have my ears shattered than hear the telephone not ringing.”
Ha! That’s a good one. I like it. Thank you, de Beauvoir! Now that’s a comical sentence.
And I especially like reading it on Christmas Eve, as I write this blog post. Alone. Working in my home office. By myself. With no Christmas decorations up. Not even one. Except the ones I never took down from last year. Because I have an F-ing concussion, and the thought of getting the Christmas box out from under the stairs? Too much, apparently, for my concussed brain to process. And, oh, all this dizziness I’ve been feeling lately, it’s just grand. Between all these dosage adjustments and head-bobbling exercises, how’m I supposed to walk down stairs, anyway? It’s as if my psychiatrist and physical therapist are in cahoots. They probably are, the silly bastards! Well, silencing the phone and lying down is a better fate, anyway, than listening to the phone not buzzing. What a holiday season. And all these people driving around, getting into traffic jams, swearing at one another. When some of us can’t drive at all, because of our concussed brains. Utterly repulsive.*
*Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: Happy holidays, and lots of love, everyone!