A friend of mine once explained his people’s fine tradition of going out for dinner and a movie on Christmas Day.
“There’s no traffic, there’s plenty of parking, and you can walk into nearly any restaurant and get seated immediately,” he began. “And I know this is going to come out the wrong way, but there’s a tiny, hard-to-describe pleasure in looking around the room and knowing that for just this one day, all of the Christians are somewhere else.”
(“That’s the meaning of Jewish Christmas, Charlie Brown.”)
Saturday night was a regional holiday for all New England football fans: the Patriots were 15-0 before last night’s game, with just one final victory to go before they’d end the season undefeated. Actually, it was a holiday for all New England sports fans, period. All across the Northeast, people were basking in the warm glow of enormous TV sets and heroic volumes of brewed beverages.
Me? I went out to dinner with a bunch of fellow geeks. I have this monthly thing with my friends that normally takes place on a Tuesday night. Because of the Christmas holiday, I moved it to Saturday, not realizing that it happened to be an Important Night. O’course, among our nerdly little group, that didn’t really matter.
Another thing I didn’t know was that our usual restaurant doesn’t take reservations on the weekend. Tuesday is usually a slow night for restaurants and there’s no problem phoning ahead earlier in the day and arranging a seating for ten or twelve people. So I was a bit worried about just trusting to luck but sure enough, we all showed up and we only had to stand around long enough for waiters to push three or four of the restaurant’s (many) empty tables together.
I was halfway through my bowl of chili when it finally hit me: this must be what Josh was talking about when he told me about Jewish Christmas. It really was quite lovely to know that for just this one night, nobody in the restaurant was a raging football fan.
I was tempted to make a joke about Gold Kryptonite. I bet this was one of the few situations other then a hotel restaurant at a comic-book convention where you could make that kind of a joke and draw a laugh from people at adjoining tables.