Tuesday, November 25, 2008

T (day) Minus Two

This being the Tuesday before Thanksgiving--and Christopher and I having agreed to take two or three dishes to dinner on Thursday--you'll understand why I'm a little tired this afternoon.

Oh. Not enough info? Well, you see, I got up early enough this morning to be semi awake and have a lucid conversation with Christopher about what ingredients we definitely need for what we're taking. Why so early? Because I needed to make sure we were both working from the same recipes before he left for work. 

Still not sure why all of this is going on today and not... say... tomorrow? After all, I do enjoy grocery stores. I enjoy going and looking around a grocery store when I need to do something to kill time.  I love going into grocery stores in other countries to see what isn't--and is--the same. I even like doing the weekly groceries--and often end up in one grocery store or another on multiple days each week. But... even with all of that grocery-store love behind me, I refuse to go to the grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving. 

Grocery stores the day before any major holiday are bad enough. The day before Easter? Good luck getting near the eggs or ham. The Third of July? Don't even go near the meat department... or the frozen foods... or the chips... or the sodas. And the day before Christmas? Well... It's just not wise to go to any shopping-related store the day before Christmas. But the day before Thanksgiving? That's just asking for trouble.

On the day before Thanksgiving, the stores are filled with three kinds of shoppers: The Pilgrims; The Old-Hats; and The Side-Bringers.

1) The Pilgrims could also be called the "Thanksgiving-cooking-virgins." These are the people who--for whatever reason--have agreed to cook dinner this year. Even though it's their first time, they've invited all 27 relatives, 9 co-workers, and 3 "homeless" friends--at least one of whom is vegan. These poor souls have never even seen a frozen turkey, but have a list in hand and you'll find them pushing a cart filled with four cans of cranberries, more stuffing than would be needed to stuff an ostrich, a pumpkin and a bag of flour (which they're sure will turn into a pie if they just follow the directions they found via Google). They know it will all work out--as long as they only sleep for 3 hours Wednesday night.

2) The Old-Hats are the ones you wish would invite you for dinner. They are in the store to pick up last-minute and pre-made items, only. In their carts, they have rotisserie chickens and tubs of mashed potatoes and gravy. They plan to go home to put together the green bean casserole and make sure the Jell-O salad has chilled. And on Thanksgiving they're going to watch the parade, snack on olives and relish trays, then toss everything into the oven to reheat just in time for their friends to show up with a bottle or two of wine and at least two pies.

3) The Side-Bringers are just that--people who have never seen an uncooked turkey and never plan to. They are in the store with a hand basket strolling up and down the aisles looking for that one special something that will be the perfect thing to take to their aunt's/mom's/friend's/co-worker's house sometime in the middle of the afternoon on Thanksgiving. They're not in any hurry (you can tell by the way they keep clogging up the aisle for the Pilgrims who are frantically pushing their carts), and on their way home they'll realize that the ice cream they picked up won't work as a salad, but maybe they can take the chips and salsa, instead.

Oh. But we can't forget the fourth group. This is the group I seem to always wind up in: The WhyAmIHere?s. We are the ones who did all of our Thanksgiving shopping in advance, but ran out of milk at breakfast on Wednesday morning. So once again we find ourselves in the store, trapped by the carts of the Pilgrims and Old-Hats, in the checkout line behind the Side-Bringer who leaves his basket on the counter to go back in search of a bag of carrots and a tub of dip. 

So far, this year I seem to be headed for avoiding all of those factions, though. And all it took was getting up an hour or two earlier than usual this morning. 

Of course, having said all that, I get the sneaking suspicion I'm going to somehow end up in the WhyAmIHere? line tomorrow. If not, I'm definitely putting it on my "I'm Thankful For..." list.

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