There are things I enjoy on a habitual level, but as soon as people get excited about them as rituals (or should I say qua rituals) I tend to lose interest. As a dumb example, I used to like to watch Mickey's Christmas Carol, the only version I really care for, every year around Christmas. For a few years in a row, I didn't get around to it until Christmas Eve and the rest of my family, also fans, watched it with me. Then it somehow became a ritual, without anyone, you know, asking me. Suddenly it was like, "Oh boy, it's Christmas Eve! We have to watch Mickey's Christmas Carol! It's a tradition!" And poof, appeal gone. It started to feel obligatory and extrinsically imposed, i.e., "not organic."
In fact, pretty much everything I wrote above applies to "tradition" as well. Tradition is even warmer and fuzzier for the average American than ritual I'd guess. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and weddings are especially ripe for ritualized traditionalism. And most of it (sorry) bores me. I think it has something to do with the fact that since I hit 25 or so, the years stream by at a fairly blurry clip, such that even events that only occur once per year do not feel special anymore. When I was a little kid, it always felt like Christmas would never, ever come. Now, my last five Christmases feel basically the same. All the rituals and traditions don't help me distinguish shit temporally. I'd prefer to be able to say, "Oh yeah, that was the year we flocked the tree and roasted a goose instead of a turkey." Or whatever. In general, things that happened last year seem about as far back in my past as things that happened three or four years ago. Do you eventually reach a point where you can't remember which decade something occurred in? God. Anyway, boredom is a ruling emotion, if you can call it that, in my life; boredom avoidance is one my chief decision-making heuristics, etc.
Or take weddings. If I were ever going to get married, which at this juncture holds little to no draw for me, I wouldn't give any kind of shit about the age-old wedding traditions like "something borrowed, something blue blah blah." Just ... who cares? But weddings are so prepackaged I wouldn't even know how to escape all the "rituals" (read: cliches). I'd rather elope. (Or just not get married.)
I think for a ritual/tradition to feel exciting or special at this point, it would have to only happen every seven or twenty years or something, Halley's comet-type stuff.
"Is it just me?"
I really like this little "notice" on Jessica Smith's blog:
I’ve decided to write single poems for single readers such that writing is publication and the reader I appeal to is the one precise reader who receives the poem. This is partly practical: I don’t have the time or money to write many poems or make multiple copies. It’s partly on curmudgeonly principle: there are too many poems in the world, floundering around looking for the right reader, trying to appeal to large audiences in hopes of catching that single sensitive soul (a tuna net for a dolphin). And it’s partly that I am satisfied writing one poem for one person. A poem is always a valentine, it is always about love [...] A poem has to be an open letter because the writer and reader will die, are mortal, must appeal to others to remember their love.I remember once Jessica referred to herself as "beautiful" on her blog, rather off-handedly, maybe as part of a list of reasons why people react poorly to her? It kind of blew my mind. Not in a "How dare she!" kind of way. It was so matter-of-fact it didn't even come off as vain. I was just impressed that she would have the balls to use that word in self-reference, instead of a more qualified qualifier like "attractive." She is, anyway, self-evidently beautiful.