6 Mar., 2021

“Purim, we hardly knew ye”

Bear with me this post that doesn’t seem to have much to do with insomnia.

My favorite holiday came and went last week. If you don’t know much about Judaism, it’s the holiday called Purim. The last many years, I’m not sure just how, I’ve celebrated by hosting a megillah reading and pinball tournament;

That my first pinball machine I ever acquired, Lost World, by Bally, 1978. It was my favorite when I was a kid. Great machine. So much of my paper route money went into it. That’s also my cat, Lilly. Great cat.

it might be the geekiest thing in the whole world, but I own a few machines. There’s lots of food, and as is customary (and, in fact, commanded), for the holiday, lots of alcohol. I don’t actually drink myself, but I know how to shop for alcohol so that there will be something for everyone, whether they like beer, mixed drinks, wine, or hard seltzer.

Well, the holiday came and went last week, and instead, I participated in our synagogue’s online party, and unplugged all the pins for the evening as a sign of mourning.

It’s been years since we didn’t have a Purim party, and even longer since I didn’t make shlach manos for friends. I didn’t make a single one this year. I baked hamantashen

The apricot are my favorite.

for my brother, stepfather, and for us, but didn’t make any general shlach manos, and my son and I usually make 50 or 60 for friends, co-workers, my minyan (prayer group), and the boychik’s friends, classmates, and teachers. I did hand out sack lunches to homeless people, but that was my only traditional Purim observation.

This is my favorite holiday. It’s for me like canceling Christmas and Halloween in the same year

So what is on my mind right now, and what is nagging me when I try to go to sleep? That I missed my holiday. That’s what Purim feels like to me. I’m very possessive about it. I need to express my disappointment. I also feel a little guilty, as though I let people down. As though everyone who usually gets shlach manos from me was disappointed in me.

The truth is, probably not. Most didn’t even notice, I’m sure. I suspect that making them and giving them out means more to me than it does to the people I give them to.

I realize that if the worst things the plague has done to me are to have caused me to miss seeing my brother for a year, and not get to have my Purim party, I’m getting off easy. No one close to me has died; I haven’t caught it, and I’m scheduled for vaccination tomorrow; my son has been in school about 90% of the year; I’ve been employed, albeit, reduced hours; but I have lots of savings, which I haven’t run through, because I’ve been conservative– or at least, have been since about last May, when it dawned on me that this could go on more than a year.

I’m still very disappointed in the moment.

I think when we reach herd immunity with the vaccines, and the Universal Precautions Redux are called off, I will have a special pinball tournament. Maybe even with lots of booze. Definitely with lots of food– maybe even with hamantashen, no matter when it happens.

Published by Chava Freya

Insomnia is a brain-based disorder I’ve had since I was at least 16 years old. Anti-anxiety medicine doesn’t help, except when there’s external anxiety exacerbating the problem. Sleep hygiene is irrelevant, because it’s not the problem, although I have submitted to it five different times, including having sleep specialists actually come to my home and advise me on rearranging furniture, buying special pillows, forbidding TVs in the bedroom, telling me the bed was for nothing but sleep, sex and reading, and when that didn’t work, then nothing but sleep. Period. That was the biggest failure of all.

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