Turban Squash, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor on Yupo paper
I was back for the fourteenth time, in need of more apple cider, shredded Colby Jack, and an organic package of sage (yes, really)–things that required an extra run to, yes, a different store, where, no I couldn’t just “make do” not when I’d come this far. And by “far,” I of course mean, “far gone,” having, on all fours, foraged forest floors for truffles with my own snout (no, not really)–all for a wild mushroom pate that would spend the night pushed to the edge of plates, enduring complaints that the chopped liver seemed “a little off” this year.
“Can you believe all these people from Equinox buying food?!” The woman in line behind me said as if she were addressing an auditorium of old people from the Bronx. “The people at that gym don’t actually eat do they?!”
When I turned to look at her, I saw that she’d caught the attention of the woman in the next aisle, also in workout clothes. Possibly from the Bronx, clearly a member of Equinox gym.
“Oh, how are you Nancy?”
“Good, good, Gayle, so what’s doin’?”
“I’ll tell you, I’ve had it already. I want to go to a restaurant, enough is enough.”
“It’s terrible. No one makes an effort anymore, I know.”
“Just terrible. It’s not worth it.”
“Oh, and on top of it, Jim’s driving me crazy–crazier, if you can believe.”
The cashier asks me to sign the credit slip. “Don’t mind us,” the woman behind me says. “We’re just bitter old women.”
“Please,” I say, “I’m right there with you. I’m ready to stab you both in the face.”
I’m no longer met with the soft faces of women, bonding in a shared misery. They wince and clutch their purses. “I mean, well, not you. But someone. Sorry, never mind.”
On my car ride home, the point was driven home. Thanksgiving is just like giving birth. Prone to outbursts and intense moments of pain, then a formal presentation of your creation, where family and guests “ooh” and “ah,” asking for the details. “How long did it cook?” “How big is she?” are comparable inquires to that of labor and delivery times, right down to the birth weight. It’s a pain you hope to forget and an event you hope to remember.