You know, we ought to live off peak. I was reading about this in a Reader’s Digest article about how to get more time out of your day. I was reading it only because I start at the beginning of a Reader’s Digest and read all the way through it while in the bathroom. I wanted to skip that article because I KNOW I’m not very efficient with time, and I don’t need anyone to tell me I am. But one of the items in it I liked. It talked about living off peak.

That means going to work early to avoid rush hour, or eating at a restaurant at four in the afternoon when no one else is gonna be there. Maybe I liked it because it was talking about living differently from everyone else. Maybe it’s just because my family is so screwy that we do everything at odd times anyway. When I homeschooled, I would get up about nine, eat breakfast and stuff by ten, then we’d eat lunch about two, supper at eight or nine, and then I’d go to bed whenever. We still eat supper late. And I suppose by staying up till odd hours in the morning during the weekend and sleeping in till noon, I live off peak myself.

My mom called a family meeting after supper the other night to talk about Christmas, what we wanted to do this year and stuff. “Do we want to have lights outside? do we want a Christmas letter? do we want a tree?” I dunno, every year we talk about doing Christmas differently and every year we seem to do it the same. Anyway, I said, “Let’s live off peak. Let’s just celebrate Christmas a week later. We can pick up a Christmas tree that someone’s dumped out already, and if there’s still some tinsel on it, we won’t have to decorate it.” That’s a line from one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. My grandmother was laughing at this point, my sister was rolling her eyes so hard I thought they might just roll right out of her head, my dad was shaking his head, and my mom was trying not to act amused.

Ben got excited, “Yeah!” I went on, “And everything will be on sale so we won’t have to buy presents or anything else at full price. It’s all part of living off peak.” My mom squinted at me. She does that whenever she thinks she’s not heard me correctly. “What?” she asked.

Dad cleared his throat. “So…” he said, “Do we want a Christmas tree this year?”

We’ll be getting yet another Lealand Cyprus.

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