After revisiting last week’s blog post, I decided I had been reading too much Chelsea Handler. Of course I can justify the selection because it’s legitimate research for my still in-progress serio-comedic memoir. But when my blogging tone gets snarky and stays there just a tad too long, I know I’ve had my fill and it’s time to do whatever it takes to return to the core of my more congenial nature.
Clearly my Mama got tipped too heavily to the Diva side. And now that Thanksgiving has passed, I can honestly say I am grateful to have found my center . . . and not a moment too soon because the ebay auction clock is ticking on my cyber Monday watch list specials and come hell or high water, I am determined to make this holiday season really special while not losing my sense or sanity in the process.
So far I’m doing alright, save for the precious few hours of sleep I got Thursday night. Yes, against my better judgment or thanks to a bout of temporary insanity, the jury is still out on that one, my honey and I decided to test my theory about Black Friday that anybody that goes out in the middle of the night is nothing short of a maniac. But being that most of us are still financially struggling, budget consciousness became my primary motivation to heading out at 11:30 pm and seeing first hand, what all the to-do was about.
Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
We drove to the nearest Best Buy so that we could score a few video games our young ‘uns wanted, only to discover hundreds if not THOUSANDS (Ok, maybe just hundreds but it sure looked like a lot of people) standing in lines at least two deep that wrapped like a diseased yet tenacious ivy vine around three sides of the building.
And I’m sure you heard some of the heinous reports about the crazies out there who resorted to less than humane tactics to protect their purchases. Take for example the woman in LA who used pepper spray to guard her precious PS3 stash or the angry folk who may have been thinking black but ended up seeing red, resorting to fist fights outside of Walmart over a matter of who would be able to stand closer to the front of the line. Why people WHY?!
I will admit the energy is slightly addicting and not necessarily in a good way. Because we had to skip Best Buy, I had already decided I was going to grab a few hours of sleep and try again, rising at the crack of dawn to get honey’s son’s most requested game – or die trying! Yes, I was that motivated . . . at least that’s one word for it.
But first I was going to tackle Target! At 12:30 am we made our way to grab just a few items and were ecstatic to discover no lines outside. Ha! Foolish mortals we. The open, uncrowded doorways and ample parking lulled us into a false sense of security but we were in no way prepared for what we encountered on the inside! The line wrapped two-thirds of the way around the main aisles just to reach the check out counters, one of which was manned by my favorite babysitter who volunteered to work this most infamous of graveyard shifts to earn some extra holiday cash.
And that’s when it happened. A bizarre kind of camaraderie was taking shape. Women standing in line did what we do best (besides shop). Whether it was the tsk-tsks at how fast items were flying off the shelves (honey almost lost a limb scoring one of the last large Lego sets for my son and a Barbie dream jet for my daughter) or sharing stories of how bad/good/new/familiar this experience was to last year’s holiday shopping. . . we commiserated, laughed and encouraged each other.
We were on a mission and it was not just to buy, buy, buy but to consider, compare and connect over so many topics. Whether discussing the financial burden many feel in this economy, the ages and interests of our children or telling a desperate mom where she might grab the last Shawn White hoodie, we were demonstrating human generosity. And if someone, close to the front of the line forgot a last minute item, we did what I believe was most special of all. . .
We held a space for each other.
When I blinked my bleary eyes and stepped back from the madness and mayhem what I found instead was a dose of holiday magic. To all the women I met shopping, including the Best Buy employee who got to work at 5 am; a mom of seven whose youngest, a13 month-old was at home with croup, I salute you. In the wee hours of my post-Thanksgiving morning, you reminded me that in fact in the midst of all that black there was a great light; the light of connection, kindness and compassion.
And that is something worth celebrating.