Well, this time of year is nothing if not a time to glean lessons out of daily experience. So here are the ones I've learned this holiday season.
1. If you are at the head of a line at any store and there is any hold-up--say you have to re-enter your pin, or you aren't fast enough getting that cash out of your purse--be prepared for an onslaught of hostility from the mile of strangers who have suddenly piled up behind you. God pity the fool who stops to write a check!
2. Related to number 1, statistically, the longer the line, the older and more befuddled the sales clerk will be. (note: hostility will still be aimed at the person at the head of the line, not the clerk).
3. Sales people are temporarily inhabited by parasitic pod aliens, delivered straight from the planet cha-ching, from Nov. 26 until Dec. 31. Hence the wild staring eyes, the monotone speech and the drool often seen hanging from their mouths.
4. Turns out, we've been lied to your our whole lives that Christmas is a time of peace and joy and kindness to your fellow man--that's actually a clerical error that never got corrected. Those behaviors are actually the aegis of Presidents' Day, it turns out, while Christmas is a time to prove how much bigger, better and grabbier you can be than other people who have the misfortune to be in your way when you go to grab a sale item off the Home Depot shelf.
5. It's A Wonderful Life has got to be the schmaltziest movie ever made--full of manipulative sentiment and Pollyanna cheer (and it still makes me cry, damn it).