On Christmas Day/Hannukah Eve my grandmother called to wish me a happy holiday. While my half of the conversation was spare -- I generally loathe the phone and tend to clam up when forced to use it -- Grandma rambled on about the Hannukah party her friend was throwing for a new great-grandson that night. She was sort of sad that not all her friends could be there but she planned to go and enjoy herself anyway.
"Some people might sit around and mope, but I'm not the kind to become a shriveled old prune. I choose to be around people. I choose to have fun." This was what came out of her mouth; Her tone, on the other hand, sent a more pointed message: "Your mother told me you decided to skip the Matzo Ball last night. Nice going -- you just bought yourself another year without a man."
(Year after year the Matzo Ball has been at best a disappointment, at worst a spectacular nightmare. Ten years of ex-boyfriends and one-date disasters convene to haunt me on Christmas Eve, rattling about Lulu's bar like the Ghosts of J-Date Past.)
"You know, Grandma, some people can have fun without being party animals," I countered. "Look at me: I like company, but I also need a lot of time alone. And I prefer to be with only one or two people at a time. Crowds make me uncomfortable."
"Well, sure," she said, "that's your choice. You can find yourself one nice young man and be alone with him..."
"No, I was talking about friends. One or two friends, like to sit and have dinner. I'm just saying I don't always enjoy a big to-do."
"Well that's something different!" She was getting louder. "I'm talking about a boy. Why can't you meet someone, get married, have a family? I mean, let's face it--" and then she began to sing off-key -- "the clooooock is tiiiiiick-iiiiinnnnnng, la la la laaaa deeeee daaaaah..."
Had I been paying closer attention I might have realized sooner that I'd been drunk-dialed by my Grandma.
"Conversation over," I said. "Happy Hannukah." Click.
And then I thought, "Nice going -- you just bought yourself another month without a tedious phone call." Happy Hannukah indeed!