Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It’s a Thursday in November – Enjoy It!

Last night, I spoke on the phone with a dear friend of mine who keeps following me around the country.

That’s a joke, by the way… the reference to being followed. It just happens our paths have crossed in three states. Diane and I knew each other at prep school in Virginia (when she and my sister were good friends). Our lives intersected again in New York. And in 1998, eight years after I had made the cross-country trip with my then-husband, Diane moved to L.A. If she weren’t an actress, I might feel as if I were being stalked, but I know better than that. Anyway…

When we spoke on the phone last night, Diane talked about her decision to spend Thanksgiving alone, and she also shared how a former co-worker had responded to her plans. He was aghast, apparently. He couldn’t believe she was planning to spend Thanksgiving alone.

And what that tells me is that this friend of hers would feel like a loser if he spent Thanksgiving alone.

It’s interesting how people respond to the days when society and tradition tell us we should be with others.

I shared with Diane a story I’m sure I had already shared with her. But, I haven’t shared it with you, so here goes:

When I was living in New York, I enjoyed a variety of Thanksgivings. And one year, I decided not to make any plans. When I woke up that morning, I recognized the day as time off. And quite spontaneously, I got into major cleaning mode.

I scrubbed this, dusted that, and vacuumed all over the place. And between those chores, I dealt with loads (and I mean, loads!) of laundry.

My apartment was on the 4th floor, while the laundry room, which had all of two machines, was in the basement. So I was in the elevator quite a lot that day.

The rides amused me. Every time I went down or came back up, I shared the small moving cubicle with several others, and I didn’t glean a good mood from any of them. Whether they were coming or going, their energies seemed the same: what a hassle; what an obligation; why are you wearing that; I hated sitting next to so-and-so; it’s your fault we were late; why did you say that to my uncle; I know I’ve forgotten something; we should have gone to a movie; I bet we won’t get a cab; I ate too much …

And there I was, in the middle of it all. Whether I was carrying a dirty load to the basement or a clean load back up to the 4th floor, I kept getting the same impression: Of all the people in this elevator, I am having the best day!

Have a good Thanksgiving… whatever your plans.


cj Schlottman said...


This is so true! Last year, I spent Thanksgiving alone because I didn't want to pretend that it was okay to have Thanksgiving without Clint. It wasn't. I missed him terribly, and to have a crowd in the house where he should have been would have opened up a hole in the room, a gigantic, gaping reminder that he was gone - forever.

I have never attended a Thanksgiving gathering where most of the people were actually happy. I'm visiting some friends on their farm this year, taking along one of my best friends - so I'll have someone to talk to.

Have a great Thursday..........cj

Sioux Roslawski said...

It's funny you mentioned your friend Diane and her plans to spend the holiday alone. Last night a friend of mine mentioned her plans to just spend the day with her husband. They have two sets of kids (kids with their spouses) in the area, but were really looking forward to just a quiet day. (I think they're even having shrimp for dinner! Egads! How very un-Pilgrimlike!)

When you are facing the prospect of eating lots of white, tasteless food and overcooked vegetables (not me, of course) and you are going to have to contend with in-laws who are Republicans (and proud of it)---people who have no interest in anything relevant (those aren't MY inlaws, of course), the idea of spending the day alone sounds delicious. Even the idea of spending the day in the elevator (getting material for a book, perhaps) sounds great when there are other (less pleasant) alternatives.

You're right. We get stuck in these boxes, and when we try to shove people into the boxes, it's not always a good fit.

Have a great day tomorrow...Whether you are vegging in bed with a good book or whatever. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think we all try too hard to enjoy ourselves and do the right thing. I love the snippets of conversation you overheard in the lift/elevator. I jot down overheard conversations - they provide inspiration for so many stories!
Happy Thanksgiving for this Year Katie!

Jules said...

LOL, I do understand that need to be alone by choice. What a great aha moment you had there in that elevator. :D

Now I don't know whether to wish you a happy Thanksgiving or happy cleaning (she says giggling), you pick.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Love this post!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jayne Martin said...

I'm a loner by choice most days, but on Thanksgiving I do like to be with friends and, fortunately, always manage to find myself invited somewhere.

I admire that you were inspired to clean and took such joy in it. Hope you had some rockin' music going, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. And to your friend, too.

Lazarus said...

Excellent points Katie. They say that the holiday season is when the most people enter emergency rooms with broken jaws and other injuries from fights. Too many expectations, too much pressure, etc. Doing laundry is a good alternative!

Anonymous said...

Katie, you ARE being stalked! Great story, BTW, And thanks, Jayne, for the holiday wishes. Hope you had a good one too yesterday! I still miss my family, but I felt they were with me all day yesterday.

I did have a nice Turkey Day by myself. Not only did I recreate one of mother's old recipes in honor of them, but I finally got all the shoes in my bedroom in boxes and organized. Now, it doesn't look like Payless exploded under the bed.

When my co-worker responded with horror about my decision to go it solo, I said to him "I've never felt less alone in my life."

And just think - we could have all been stomped to death at Target on Black Friday!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

XXX D the Stalker

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

you were indeed having the best day of all the people - you were living it YOUR way. Expectations over holidays are high, energy compromised (traveling away, or working hard before to get the days off, etc)and social-imposed rituals are a recipe for disaster. Hope you had a wonderful TG!

Deb Shucka said...

What a great story. If we aren't able to enjoy our own company, then the company of others will always disappoint. I hope your Thanksgiving this year was another happy one.

Cheryl said...

I love holidays alone. The days of family circling the table Rockwellian style have long been gone in my world. It's finally become acceptable to kith and kin that being alone is a choice I make, not a dismissal of them or a removal of myself from their presence.

We had a reele nice Thanksgiving. All my husband really wants is food.