I have a bit of a Christmas tradition where I watch Gundam around the holiday, it comes from a Christmas when I was stuck at home, and one of my best friends invited me over to his house for a “Gundam Weekend”. If you are wondering why I am posting all kinds of Gundam stuff this week – that’s why. I don’t post a lot of personal stuff on here, but I figured this was an atypical story that some might find interesting.
The Holiday season is always rough for me; the last time I really remember having “the spirit of Christmas” was when I was a small child. In 1990, my Grandfather died not too long before the Holiday, and that pretty much killed it. Yeah, the Christmas I spent in Florida back when Mom was dating some idiot that eventually hit her in a drunken stooper was fine, and the ones when I was living in Kansas City were fine, but there was a hole there that took a while to get over.
My Mom started dating the man that eventually became my Stepdad – Dad was generally a good dude, but his family – my former family – ruined the holiday for me even more so than it already was. I only say this now, because most of them are dead, and they basically dis-owned my Mother and I when my Stepdad passed away in 2004. Every year it was the same story – rampant materialism, loud football games, no sense of family, shrieking spoiled children not happy for what they had, not feeling like I belonged. The worst part was the toxic relationship between Dad’s brother and his wife bordering on being openly abusive. I’m amazed they never came to blows.
For the better part of a decade, it was like this year after year. I hated Christmas. I would roll in every year and pretend that I was having a good time, and usually hide in the secondary living room with my older Stepbrother who also seemed to hate the situation. Really, getting to see him was the highlight of the holidays. The Christmas of 2004 was different (I only remember the year because of the Indian Tsunami that happened that year). My Stepfather had passed in the Spring, and I knew that I was not going to go to the family that had basically tossed me away, and due to work and the lack of a car, I was not able to visit my Mother who lived in St. Louis until New Year’s if I recall.
I planned to avoid the whole mess like I usually do when I’m depressed. I had just started dating someone, but it wasn’t to the point where I was going to roll over there or anything, and honestly, I wanted to be alone. My depression works that way, I basically come off as insanely lazy and want to sleep time away so that I don’t have to deal with any of my problems. Add that I hated Christmas, and was having a crisis of faith that basically led to me dropping Christianity altogether – not a fun time.
That was until my “Brother From another Mother” Todd gave me a call. Todd always has my back, moreso than anyone else he is basically my older brother, and I love the dude. I think he realized the headspace I was in, or might have just wanted to chill, who knows – but the dude insisted that he drive two hours to get me, then two hours back to his parent’s house in order to spend Christmas there.
Unlike a traditional Christmas, we had a Gundam Night – We had just purchased a newly released DVD called Gundam F-91 and immediately played it once we got to his parent’s house. Some of the mecha designs were so awesome that we immediately pulled up some import online shopping websites and looked at the available model kits we could possibly get. They were ooooooooold kits, so we knew they would be sort of crappy, but they were suspiciously cheap. What caused them to be like 4 bucks? One possible reason was something we noticed while watching – the titular robots were slightly smaller than in other shows, that must be why they are cheaper right? Flash forward to the nerdiest thing I have ever participated in.
We found some online tech specs and came up with a ratio between the heights of the F-91 Gundams and the more classic sized ones; we then measured an existing 1/100 scale model kit and applied the same ratio to this in order to approximate the size difference – I’d like to think something like the A-Team theme song was playing while two guys that suck at math fumble through such a silly exercise – but there it was – and we were actually right!
We also played some Killzone multiplayer and talked a lot that night, and it was awesome, it was the best Christmas I had probably had since my grandfather passed. I’m not sure I will ever truly “enjoy” a Christmas / Yule etc. celebration again, but it’s been better, although losing my mother and my divorce came close to unraveling it again. “Family holidays” are so darn hard when you literally have no more immediate family due to death and disownment. Now that I am a father figure for a little dude that means the world to me (as well as his Mama), I hope he never grows up to hate the Holidays like I did/do. Even if I’m not having a good time, I want to be like Todd and give somebody their fondest Christmas memory.