It’s December 26th—Boxing Day in the U.K.—and my English husband is at work. Here in America, it seems, one day off for Christmas is enough.
In England, Boxing Day means shopping, visiting with friends, and recovering from your Christmas hangover. I want the “visiting with friends the day after Christmas” tradition to come over here. In fact, I sort of want a new holiday for the U.S., one that’s neither about family nor about romance, but about friends.
Last night, we hung out with one of my husband’s oldest friends, a guy he went to university with and who now—oddly—works at the same place as my husband here in Tennessee. We got to sitting around telling stories about one another and mutual friends. One thing I love about the Brits I know: the sense of humor. It’s sarcastic without being mean, and they show affection by casually insulting each other. The kids of these America-living Brits may not have the English accent, but they have the humor. This friend’s 10-year-old described herself as “too savage” to share a bed with her sister. My own stepdaughter, when she and her father ended up on a plane together but not sitting next to each other, claimed not to know “this man” when my husband asked her seatmate to exchange seats. When my husband said, “You little git” and she giggled, the worried flight attendant smiled and allowed the seat change.
The best story of the night was about the spouse of a friend who, when she was in college, ended up on a train across from a rather good-looking guy. Too shy to strike up a conversation and thinking to look intelligent, she rummaged in her purse and got out her journal and a pen. She tapped the pen against her face, looked up as though thinking. Finally she put the pen to paper and it wouldn’t write—because it was actually a tampon.
I’m not funny, having come from the earnest Midwest of central Illinois. But this morning, my sister texted me while being driven to the doctor. There are some potentially serious but mysterious things going on with her health, topped off by a terrible flu that had her in the E.R. Christmas Eve. She’s scared and trying not to be, exhausted, and overwhelmed. She texted that she had an appointment with a specialist later this week, which she was hopeful about.
I wrote, Does this doctor specialize in weirdness?
There was hardly a pause before I got back, If she did, you would be her best client.
Sometimes you just have to laugh—through the embarrassment, through the good times with friends and family, and even through the fear. Here’s to a humorous Boxing Day for us all.