Traditional Holidays | Page 12 | Newberry

Traditional Holidays

Well, there was turkey, and sweet potatoes, and pecan pie, and….

Oh, you wanted to know what I did on the Real Holiday, the next day. Yes, I know Black Friday now starts around noon on Thursday, but, as I was saying, there was turkey, and gravy, and thick buttery soup…Thursday afternoon is for napping, not for running around buying electronic devices. I am not yet ready for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner which consists of a large pretzel with mustard on it and an Orange Julius.

But on Black Friday, I did go out just to enjoy the experience. I used to blockade myself in the receiving room at the Newberry or, after the library started closing for the whole weekend, behind the locked door of my apartment. I was like Ebenezer Scrooge, dear reader, declining to acknowledge the joys of a traditional holiday.

I did not need three ghosts, though, to show me the error of my ways. So now I slip out to take in the joys of Black Friday in the mall, and even in an electronics establishment.

It’s not that I find a lot of bargains—I usually do no shopping at all. I go for the scenery: the people crowding around tables, pushing and shoving to get at the prize first, the children yanking on their parents’ clothes and demanding to go somewhere else, the strollers being used to block the advance of the competition.

It’s like being in the middle of a Book Fair, only no one stops ME to ask where anything is. (I have that problem in many retail establishments: people look at my face and think I can tell them where to look for the Hello Kitty footballs. This is one reason I like to go to electronics stores. No one ever looks at me and thinks I can tell a smartphone from a calculator.)

I don’t like to brag, but at OUR little buying binge, we take pains to make the aisles wide enough for people to get by. WE do not stick special cardboard displays in the middle of the walking space. We have a whole separate room for check-out, with someone who can point you to an open station. True, we don’t have an ear piercing kiosk, and we closed the exchange department in 1985, but we don’t have people spraying you with Justin Bieber cologne as you come in the door, either.

Ah, it’s a busman’s holiday. I can go placidly amid the noise and haste and keep my head while those about me are losing theirs, as the poets say. I am under no obligation to help find a pricetag or point the way to the restroom. No one asks me when we close tonight, which is just as well, because I don’t know. I do feel a slight pang when I see woebegone parents weighed down with purchases from the first two stops in the mall, and I can’t tell them where they can squirrel those red bags. Then I realize I don’t have to guide them to Large Order Checkout, either. It makes me feel better.

I guess I am just a little jealous of the crowds, which start to develop at six in the morning and just keep coming for fifteen straight hours or more. But it is nice to see families getting together for the great American tradition of shopping ‘til they drop.

Because I’m thinking “Next July, you’re mine.”

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