Charles Manson is getting married, and I'm still single. Not just unmarried, mind you. Single. Alone. Just me, myself and I.
Yeah, yeah...I could probably find my own serial killer psychopath if I looked hard enough, I know. I'm the only one to blame for not pursuing that. It's not like they're evading me or going anywhere.
Heh. That was an attempt at humor. Because it's really not terribly funny that Charles Manson has someone who loves him - no matter how batshit crazy she probably is - and I'm looking at another weekend with only Netflix on the horizon.
To add to that unique sort of melancholy, I got a message from a friend of mine the other day, asking for my thoughts on the subject of Christmas gifts.
She's a single Mom herself, and this year, both her kids have reached the age where they no longer believe in Santa. This presents a unique challenge when you're a single Mom with no significant other around, and no family living nearby. Come Christmas morning, your stocking hangs empty, and there usually aren't any presents under the tree for you, unless your ex was kind enough to take the kids out shopping to buy you something - and most of us don't have an ex that kind, unfortunately.
And it's not that I'm sad about that. I want my kids to have a wonderful Christmas, and that's enough. More than enough.
The problem is, the kids see an empty stocking, and Mom sitting empty-handed while they're sitting by their present-pile, and they feel bad. It makes them feel guilty. It glides a dark cloud in for a few moments to cover the happy, casting it in shadow, and reminding them (and me) that while they get double-Christmas, I get to remember that there's nobody to remember me.
So I started a couple of years back stuffing my stocking with cheap candy (the type the kids love, too - gee, what a coincidence), a huge apple, or maybe a pair of socks from the dollar store. I wrapped a couple of inexpensive gifts I picked out for myself - some body wash, or a new coffee mug or a pair of earrings - and put them under the tree. They're things I like and I tell myself I deserve to have a gift or two from me. And I do, I suppose.
Last year, I turned the kids loose at the dollar store with $10 each and told them we were all looking for stocking stuffers for each other. They loved the challenge and it made for a fun outing.
They're small gifts, but they make my kids feel better, which makes me feel infinitely better.
They help me not be reminded that I'm woefully short in the "people who want to buy me presents" department.
Most of all, they make me feel like I'm not out here on this island, sitting there wondering if I'll ever be rescued.
Or if I'll ever have the nerve to finally build a raft and take my chances.
Ellie is the author of David And Me Under The Sea: Essays From A Decade With Autism.