Christmas (Hanukkah, whatever, I don't care) is upon us, and I'm going to celebrate the season the way most people do: I'm taking a trip to NYC with my daughter, my mother, my stepfather, my ex-husband, and my ex-husband's first wife, to visit my ex-stepdaughter (though they're never really "ex"... why should they be? What did they ever do?). Plans include: "Pee Wee's Playhouse", Christmas dinner in Chinatown, the abstract expressionist painting and sculpture-athon at MOMA and pretending I don't have a boyfriend.
Some people think my practically-as-enmeshed-as-when-we-were-married relationship with my ex is bizarre; but my ex and I are friends. Friends who avoid topics. One of the most important lessons I learned from marriage is that avoiding topics is, like, so fantastic, it's better than a jar of Nutella... inside a larger jar of Nutella. Avoiding topics is the "little black dress" of conversation -- it goes with anything and makes you look skinny and chic. I swear, in any relationship I am in for the rest of time, I will never say the words, "Are you mad at me?" (My least favorite topic). These are the five stupidest words to think, string together, and then speak aloud. There is no good answer. If the answer is, "No, I'm not mad at you," then the only possible next question is: "Then why are you acting like such a douche?" At which point the answerer will probably launch into an endless spiel about some life disappointment, or a problem they're having with their dry cleaner, or perhaps a diatribe about how America is "over" and we're all going to be living in caves. If the answer is "Yes, I am mad at you", then you've opened the door for the other person to go on endlessly about whatever you did, (made a bitchy comment), or who you are, (a bitch).
There are some great pros about traveling with my ex: I don't have to worry about what to pack because I don't care what I look like around him. Finally, I can just be myself -- schlep, schlep, schleppy 24 hours a day. I can even look aggressively bad if I want to. "Oh, you don't like this jacket? Well, we don't sleep together anymore." (Of course I don't say this out loud because of the topic-avoiding). Also, I bet I won't be as constipated as I was when I traveled recently with my boyfriend. Nothing ruins a holiday as much as not pooping for a week. I bet constipation would ruin even a complimentary trip to Par-ee.
I think the reason my divorce is working out so well is because I never actually got one. That's right. Every time a lawyer would talk to me about actually doing the whole "legal" thing, I'd start realizing: "Oh, this person's job is to make this much worse." They'd act like the most gleefully destructive frenemy in the world, the kind who tells you to cut your hair or that you have the kind of body that could totally pull off high-waisted jeans. (No you shouldn't, and no you don't). These lawyers would start confirming my worst fears: "He did what? That's abuse! Well, I think the next step is to send him an injunction subpoena delivered by a live bear. And, from now on, don't talk to him anymore. I'll talk to him." Oh yeah, Mr. Schartzfeinbernstein, that sounds like a great idea.
So this holiday season, if you see a woman at Radio City Music Hall, wearing a gigantic vintage army jacket, no make-up and frizzy hair... surrounded by her overly extended family... talking about Nutella... don't pity her. Instead, rejoice! Because one thing is for certain -- her bowels are regular. Merry Christmas!