It’s an escape-from-the-kitchen, four-person, no-pressure, six-hour marketplace stroll through 21st century Northeastern culture—and without expectations.
Thanksgiving — my favorite holiday.
No ToDo list to labor over. No gifts to buy, wrap, and mail. No red, green, and silver decorations to haul out and pack away. No debate about whether to use tinsel this year. Or not. Just set the table with Mama’s porcelain, silver and crystal. Then cook tried-and-true recipes while listening to the year’s first playing of The Messiah (loud; everyone cooking gets to sing in parts; you don’t cook, you don’t sing), light the candles everywhere, and gather family around the big table (“…and feed our souls on thy heavenly grace…”).
Eat favorite foods: My favorite dressing with 45 ingredients. Southern spoon bread (Christiana Campbell’s, Williamsburg). Cranberry sauce with Port (more than a generous pouring). Pecan pie (more than a ladylike sufficiency). More. More. More.
Get someone else to do dishes, take a brisk walk, nap and/or read Jo Ann Beard’s In Zanesville throughout the Patriots game (ignore the roar) and, later, with a glass of chilled pinot grigio, settle under a throw, watch a Masterpiece rerun, skip dinner, go to bed early, promising not to eat again … ever.
The day after Thanksgiving—my second favorite holiday: go to the mall (do not laugh!) with nary a ToDo list in sight. It’s an escape-from-the-kitchen, four-person, no-pressure, six-hour marketplace stroll through 21st century Northeastern culture—and without expectations.
Look at people. There are fewer white people, more overweight people, more black tights and long sweaters, less make-up, more hair, more tatoos, more short skirts. Thus, more ass, which brings on interesting escalator-ride comments in our foursome.
Notice stuff: There are more sales (Ann Taylor, 50% off). Fewer parcels and packages. No lines at check-out. Fewer sales assistants. Young shoppers who patronize Abercrombie & Fitch may begin to suffer inner ear damage at the door.
Sashay through favorite stores: Walk through Nordstrom’s. Stroll through Restoration Hardware (Are you as weary of taupe as I am? What could they have been thinking?). Stop into a sweet smelling Teavana (he buys decaf chai tea; we test others in tiny cups). We two females march into a tarted-up Victoria’s Secret (I buy one; get 50% off on the second); the two guys say, “Meet us at the Apple Store.”
Stay loose and flexible: Wait patiently for them at the claustrophobic Apple Store (a question about a recently purchased iPhone), and, leaning against the rail, watch and comment about the traffic. Jeans are tight; black is ubiquitous; cleavage is in (in spite of the temperature); faces are unreadable masks. Everyone’s in a hurry. Why is that?
Feel sorry for the stores nobody visits: AT&T (why do they bother?), the soft-furniture store (basically, bean bags), the jewelry stores that market love, not stones. Sales assistants stand inside these places and stare wistfully out into the mall traffic where people still keep to the right, as they do on I-95.
End the day with a rousing thriller: Go see the new James Bond movie at the multi-plex (stadium seating) and discuss it on the way home: Javier Bardem is a hit. Daniel Craig is older but still a hunk. But OMG, Judi Dench dies? What? Ralph Fiennes is the future M? These are important matters. Now, what was the plot anyway?
Depend on someone else to remember where the car is parked. Drive home in the dark, quiet, happy, and sated. For the guys: reruns of the Patriots game; for us “girls,” Masterpiece. Dinner: “You know where the refrigerator is.”