Thursday, November 23, 2006

I don't even eat turkey.

7:30 on Thanksgiving morning, sitting alone in my apartment, listening to the splash of rain as cars sweep by. This isn't the first holiday I am spending alone, and I'm only technically spending it alone, as I'm going away tomorrow for a weekend that includes a family Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.

I don't have to be alone today; I have an invitation from a family member, and another from a friend, but I chose to relax and chill in light of the traveling I'll start tomorrow. I'm very conscious of this being my own choice, and in a way that makes me even more aware of sitting here alone. Almost as if I am on the outside, clinically observing. I know so many people who would fall apart if they had to spend a holiday without family or friends. I don't know if it's just my nature, or if it's something that developed during my years working in retail, when holidays were just the days you had to work harder and longer (in the case of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the days before and after being super busy.) During those years I couldn't always get away for a holiday, and learned to both entertain and not feel sorry for myself. I learned how to convince other people that it wasn't tragic, either, that I wasn't with family. Sometimes, even after I left retail, I'd lie and say I had plans - with random friends nearby, or doing charity work - things I really did, although not as many times as I claimed. Sometimes I just wasn't in the mood to deal with the hassles of traveling somewhere. I should clarify that we don't have a single family celebration tradition; my parents aren't together, and for years my mother worked every Thanksgiving, and while the extended family has rotated hosting duties, my siblings rarely have joined, choosing instead their respective in-laws with more elaborate and traditional gatherings.

I am not feeling sorry for myself, but it's been on my mind. How can it not be? Every person at work, be it someone I am close to or someone I barely know, is eager to ask, "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" I've focused on the Saturday family dinner, the weekend upstate, and usually skip that Thursday, true Thanksgiving, I plan on spending at the gym, at the movies, and sitting at my computer finishing a short story for my writing class. Not because I'm unhappy about it, but because I don't really care to deal with other people's misplaced pity over how that sounds.

I just don't know why I care more this year than I have before. Maybe because one of my siblings has moved across the country and the true family Thanksgiving (the one we have never had as adults) could never be an option.

It's raining which makes me happy. I'm sick and twisted and evil, not caring about all of those hapless travelers for which rain means slippery roads, flight delays, and soggy arrivals. I just am glad that on a day when much of the city is closed, I can laze around my apartment and my life and feel warm and cozy.


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