Yes, it’s official – I am spending Christmas alone here at graduate school. The long story is that the school messed up my financial aid and I have to stay behind to work off the balance. Even though they were two months late with my awards check, and had countless meetings regarding my financial package, they still gave me too much. I received a phone call sometime before Thanksgiving telling me that they had screwed up, as usual, and had given me around $1800 more than initially intended. Instead of letting me know that I would receive less money in the spring, they demanded I pay them back the difference. As a result of their own rampant ineptitude and lack of communication, I now had to work off the sum that I had mostly spent on furniture, text books, overdue cell phone bills, and other accommodations that come with waiting over two months for money.
The short story is, I hate everyone and didn’t really feel like flying anywhere.
To be perfectly honest, it bothers me more that people pity me than the concept of actually staying here alone. I like the alone time; I embrace the chance to read for fun, watch movies, and take the time to sit down and listen to music. In a healthy helping of irony, I even had time to find the only Christmas song I enjoy – “Christmas Time” by Andy Davis. A sample lyric is “And it sneaks up on you like cold weather/Whether or not you’re ready it comes/I don’t want to be lonely on the most wonderful time of year/But Christmas time is here…” Yet, despite my obvious happiness with the situation, when people hear that I’m staying in the dorm over break, this unbelievable wave of barely disguised contempt rolls over them. It seems like pity, but with more condescension than anything else. I think I would be a lot more comfortable with the entire thing if people just seemed more sincere about something that truly doesn’t affect them in any way.
To be sure, I still owe about $800 on the debt that the school arbitrarily assigned to me after its own gross incompetence. More importantly, I have always loathed holidays, especially Christmas, and have no interest in going home to choke down shitty songs and take-out food with relatives. Perhaps even worse, I can’t stand my family and have no real motivation to head to Minnesota, of all places, to waste away the week.
That said, can’t people just leave me alone and let it go? None of this affects much of anyone but me, and yet I have had to explain this situation more times than I could count over the past few weeks. I think it’s safe to say I’ve had my fill of disingenuous concern. For now, I’d just like to be left alone; which, for once, is something I can bank on for the next two weeks.