Hello good people! Today is the Monday after Thanksgiving, known in some corners as Cyber Monday, a commercialized cousin of Black Friday, Keep Shopping Saturday, and Remember the Tithes and Rent are Due Sunday. In my house, and I imagine in many of yours, Thanksgiving is not so much a time to be thankful as much as it is a full-scale production of feeding, sheltering, and stunting on family & friends for the better part of a day or longer. There is the pre-production site selection, cleanup, and prep. The day of production with cooking, drinking, sleeping, and watching TV. The post-production cleanup of washing dishes, vacuuming, and wondering who “borrowed” your iPhone charger for another 365 days (give it up and buy another one). Needless to say, Thanksgiving is a lot and it means a lot for the people who celebrate it, particularly those who host Thanksgiving. My family has hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas since before I was born. But, that is not what I am here to talk about — I am here to talk about what happens today, the Monday after, when most folks are going back to work and have had ample turkey and roast beef sandwiches and other leftovers since late Thursday night.
If you have been out, you will have noticed that early Friday morning EVERY commercial retail company had their Christmas lights and decorations up, carols blasting over the speakers, and every sale known to man made available to early Christmas shoppers, despite statistics showing that savings are better between post-Christmas and New Year’s rather than Black Friday. Our family does not do Black Friday shopping because we value our lives too much to be trampled over for a hoodie or TV. But, for those who do, “Mama we made it,” congratulations you are still here to tell the tale. Many friends and family have returned to work today just as groggy and lethargic as they day they were born (see, if I was going to work then I wouldn’t be writing this; and, moreover, I learned from my mother to take the day after the holiday weekend off). Today may have just been National Mannequin Day because you probably were as productive as a Sears mannequin.
In my home, now is the time when my anxiety and OCD kicks into high gear and I start to do my cleaning and purging habit. I am compulsive cleaner and I like to purge (what I deem to be) unnecessary clutter from the house and refrigerator, which drives my mother crazy (yes, I stay at home — long story). This morning, I opened the fridge to begin my annual post-Thanksgiving panic attack which is summarized in the below internal monologue list:
1. FUCK! It’s Monday!
2. Christmas is like a legit month from now, what we gonna do?
3. When do we get the Christmas tree? Real of Fake? You know it’s real, quit playin’. It just better be straight this year.
4. Wait, what should I get my parents and my sister? What do they need? Shit, get them the same thing you always do. No, they want something new. Nigga, that expensive, you got new gift money? Nope, same shit it is!
5. Hold up! What getting me? Did I give them a list? That one was from 3 drafts ago and I got half this stuff already. Ok, so what do I need? No, what do I want? I just don’t need my mama buying me clothes. I can dress my damn self and her stuff be ugly anyway! Hmmm….give them a new list by the end of the week.
6. I need to clean the bathroom, it’s disgusting!
7. I need to clean the kitchen, this floor is a mess!
8. Shit, I may as well vacuum and wash clothes if I’m gonna do all that.
9. What is there to eat? Why do we have all of these leftovers? Who’s gonna eat all of this? Why’d we cook all of this food? Half this shit gonna be thrown away, you know? Why did Dad get these damn chitlins?
10. Oh, the desserts, I’m gonna try to eat all of these this week! No dessert left behind.
I really do hate food waste, particularly food waste around the holidays because it is so much excess. We prepare this big production dinner once a year for family and friends when we can make the same meal every Sunday, but do not invite the same folks. We move so quickly this time of from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s that we forget to breathe in between. We follow tradition and overspend rather than being earnest and cheap (all of these holidays hit just before or on the day the rent is due each month).
My very best friend is in Nepal having a personal and artistic awakening for the past week. I have had an awakening, of sorts, for myself for this Thanksgiving; and, that is that I do not have to ball out and put on a show for 1 day each month for the last 3 months of the year. I have to start putting in more time, effort, and work to create that same impact or greater over the other 362 days in the year. So, now that thanksgiving is over, what comes next for you?