(original post-date: November 24, 2010)
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.
[2011 post-script: I'm taking a short holiday break from posting. Will return next week with a Monday rerun and a fresh post on Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!]