Prologue: At the beginning of last week, I was still up in the air about what I was going to do for Thanksgiving. Why? Because unlike most of America, we had to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND Friday, while having the weekend off. Being from Maine and having two families to check in with, my choices were to a) drive around like a Canadian madman in a 24-hour span or b) go to someone’s else house that I was invited to and use the weekend to visit both parents. I decided to go with the latter, but a big ‘c’ would change that.
Ever feel good and then one minute, you don’t? That was me at around 3:30 Monday afternoon. Out of nowhere, I started getting that head cold/sick feeling which is still with me a week later. It intensified through the week and because of the games, I couldn’t afford to take a sick day. After leaving the game Wednesday night, I talked to my buddy Ben (whom I was doing T-Day with) and said that it was going to be a game-time decision depending on how I felt Thursday AM. For precautions, however, I did swing by the local Stop n’Shop and pick up a small chicken, instant potatoes, stuffing and some apple crisp so I could enjoy some semblance of a traditional holiday. Late Wednesday night, I didn’t feel any better, so it was to be me, the chicken and the TV making three on Thanksgiving. Here’s where our story begins…
9 am: Wake up for the first time and fall back asleep.
10:30 am: Wake up again…fall asleep again.
12:10 pm: Ahhhh…now it’s time. I probably could have slept for a while longer (I maxed out at around 12 hours of nap time), but I started thinking about the chicken and rolled out of bed. As I looked outside at the neighboring houses and saw the cars littered out front in the traditional T-Day format, I had a feeling of joy: for the first time in years, I wasn’t going to have to rush around or put on a show for anyone. It was just me and my cooking skills for the whole day and I was excited as hell. I even grabbed some AAA batteries for the living room TV remote, which has been empty for about two months. It was that kind of day!
**Speaking of TV, is there a purpose for parades anymore? I’ve never been a big fan (save the Spider-Man float when I was younger) as watching giant balloons, bands and celebrity singers lip-synching on floats just doesn’t do it for me. (“Look Katie, it’s the CingularVerizonWalMartMacyMcDonalds Teen Singers from the 80s float. Is that Tiffany or Debbie Gibson?”) Then again, maybe it’s just me.
12:30 pm: I look at the Purdue chicken for the first time and read the cooking instructions. ‘Remove giblet packet and rinse cavity.’ Hmmm? Giblet packet? What the hell is that? Complications already…
1 pm: After doing the above, the chicken heads into the oven. In two hours, it’s either a great feast or $15 to Pizza Hut. In either case, the day’s a success.
1:20 pm: As I headed down to throw in some laundry, I spot Requiem for a Dream on the dvd cabinet. This movie is just staring me in the face, daring me to watch it. I’ve never been so intimidated by a movie in my life, other than Transformers: The Movie. Why did they have to kill Optimus Prime? Whyyyyyy?!!!!!
(Sorry about that, but killing off OP so early in that film was a huge mistake. He’s the face of the Autobots and you slay him in the first 30 minutes? Does that make any sense?)
1:30 pm: We’re only 30 minutes into the first football games and there’s been about 32 cooking references by the broadcasters. At this rate, I’m going back to the bed. But the sun comes out and I’m fully convinced at how great this day is.
2:00 pm: We’re an hour into cooking and I decided to check on the bird, which is doing gangbusters. Thinking some big production will be needed with coordinating the potatoes and stuffing, I decided to start planning ahead. However, I failed to consider that both are instant and would take about 10 minutes max. My Martha Stewart moment faded away just like that. I cracked my first beer to get over the pain….
2:01 pm: Yep, I’m over it.
2:13 pm: We’re at the half of the Indy/Lions game and Peyton Manning has thrown for 173 touchdowns. I take the moment to put in the first calls of the day to Mom and then Dad. I got a voicemail on one and a busy signal on the other, so I’ll try again later. I must say that with the ridiculous and sometimes anti-family schedule I work, I have a very understanding family. Christmas will be somewhat similar, but we just roll with the punches and hope for better the next year.
As much as I downplayed the T-Day traditions last week, someone told me I was probably doing it in an attempt to forget how much fun I usually have. That statement is pretty true, actually. People assume that it was very sad for me to stay home along, but knowing I had the weekend made it very easy to keep it low-key. I was also amazed at how many offers I got to go other places. It’s certainly the only holiday of its kind that makes people open their doors to strangers like nothing else.
2:15 pm: I’m flipping around and catch some Real World reruns (big surprise…I don’t think MTV has played an actual video during daylight or primetime hours since 1993). Does it seem that every bar/nightclub the housemates go into is the most happening place in the world? I love the ultra-zoom in shots of the bar sign and the token ‘get a shot of the bartender pouring multiple shots’ scene as well. This definitely has to be one of the more blah casts in recent years. The two curly hair guys are the ones having fun while everyone else is content to bitch. And have there been two curly hair guys ever on the RW? Now, I’m thinking too much.
2:3o pm: Alright, the potatoes and stuffing are ready to start. Despite the fact they’re instant, I find myself consulting the directions more than I actually should.
2:35 pm: They’re done. Time for another beer for that hard work…
2:40 pm: The big mystery at this point is when the lil’ white thermometer will pop, indicating the chicken is done. I starting wondering what would happen if the thing broke or if it didn’t work at all. Would it ruin the chicken? How do I truly know if it’s cooked? This little white piece of plastic could be the make or break of this entire day and I’m nothing but putty in its hands.
2:47 pm: Pop!
3:07 pm: As I sit down for my first self-made Thanksgiving meal, a few thoughts crossed my mind…
1) Accomplishment. I took a potentially bad situation and made a great learning experience out of it. It may seem like throwing a chicken in an oven and mixing up a few instant side dishes, but to me, well…that’s exactly what it was. But it meant something, damn it!
2) The Detroit Lions look terrible today and we have a Cowboys/Bears game to look forward to. Ugh.
3) Laguna Beach. I caught 10 minutes of this and find it hard to actually get interested/root for any of these spoiled 18-year-old rich punks in Cali. The one thing that works for most MTV reality shows is that most viewers can somewhat relate to the people on the show. On LB, you can’t. It’s the real version of ‘The O.C.’ and it’s almost impossible to watch.
4) While I love VH1, I’m starting to notice the recurring theme of all of their social commentators basically hating on everyone and everything. As a nod to Turkey Day, they were featuring some of the “Worst such and such” shows and it seemed like the comedians, writers, etc. they secured as experts just made fun of the subjects with no real reason why, often really stretching for laughs. I wish I had more examples, but try and make note of this the next time you watch VH1. I mean, it’s fun to hate every once in a while but it just seems they’re taking it to Player Haters’ Ball-type proportions. hatehatehate….(if you know Chappelle, you understand that last sentence.)
The rest of the day: Honestly, I stopped writing things down but here’s a recap:
–Dishes. Ugh. Even cooking for one makes a mess…
–This Cowboys/Bears game almost made me gag on my apple crisp. Almost.
–I got to I.M. with my younger brother, who’s in London on a semester-long exchange. It was just one of those moments that you could have never predicted a year ago, but just shows how crazy life really is.
–Because of my 12-hour sleep and multiple cups of coffee, I didn’t fall asleep until 3 am. Good thing I have Friday off!…oh wait, I don’t.
Epilogue: I think if I came away with one life lesson/observation, it’s that being comfortable with being alone and the ability to ‘hang out’ with yourself is amazingly important. I had a great and productive day and I didn’t even talk to anyone. Now, I wouldn’t want to do this every holiday but the fact I made it through impressed me personally. I think some people have a big issue with being by themselves in certain situations, but if you can’t cope with your own being, how can you expect others to? Just a thought…
Now if I can just get into the Christmas spirit…
thanks for reading,