Are you alone on Thanksgiving? I’m there with you in spirit. And by “spirit” I mean “alcohol.”
While shopping at Whole Foods earlier this week and somehow racking up a $200-plus bill even though I don’t eat meat and am temporarily, unhappily, off dairy and eggs — Golden Delicious apples are apparently made of actual gold — a cashier, bagger and manager processing my return all asked with pesticide-less, free-range cheer, “Whatcha doing for Thanksgiving?”
My immediate, internal response was rife with non-FDA-approved hormones. The truth was stinging my stomach like conventionally grown tomatoes. I wanted to say, “Nothing. OK? Nothing. But my cats really love me, and I have a blog about my life with them.”
Instead, I thrice coughed up a syrupy “Happy holidays!” before pretending to be distracted by a sale on soy milk.
The truth about my barren holiday social calendar has been eating at me for days, and like a moldy container of leftovers in the fridge, I kept pushing it further back in hopes that the problem would just somehow vaporize. It has not. Now, turduckens and I are stewing in our own juices; I wish I could sit at a big table and not eat bird on Thanksgiving with boisterous blood relatives whom I can barely tolerate who feed me into oblivion and then serve the pies. Because that’s the American way.
By all accounts, aside from getting dumped and growing a tail, I’ve had a pretty good year. A couple of my essays are being staged in New York City. I went to Cape Town on a whim at the invitation of a kindred spirit I’d never met before. I have the most beautiful cats in this and as-yet undiscovered galaxies. But that doesn’t make me feel any less lame about being lonely at the holidays, and it doesn’t keep me warm at night. OK, technically, it does keep me warm at night to the point of being overheated, because Isabel sleeps on my head. I hate when I undermine my own arguments.
With a full plate stuffed with inedible blessings, I feel like a douche bag for bitching about my lack of Thanksgiving plans. It’s similar to that scene in “Notting Hill” when everyone is whining about their dreadfully hum-drum lives in competition for the last brownie, and then Julia Roberts opens her mesmeric multimillion-dollar mouth and complains about the stress of being the highest-paid actress in the world and the burden of being beautiful. Or maybe I’m a douche bag because I just compared myself to Julia Roberts.
Most of this is my fault. It’s my choice to live far away from my family. My job also requires me to clock in, whether or not Christ is coming or going or Columbus is sort of but not really discovering America or trees are … arboring. And thanks to blogging, I’ve spent much of the past couple of years cultivating friendships with people in faraway places and in nations where Thanksgiving is not celebrated. Once again, my lack of foresight is astounding.
To that I say, Freedom Day is commemorated April 27. Mark your calendar, blacks and whites. We’re gonna party like it’s 1994 and we were just granted universal suffrage.
As for now, if you’re like me and have nowhere to go over the long holiday weekend, we will make it through this Thanksgiving together. And by “we” I mean “you and me and booze.” Because, thank cats, vodka is vegan.
P.S. Because it’s Thanksgiving — emphasis on the giving if you’re not totally self-involved like I am — I’m hoping you might be able to join me in offering moral or financial support to Liz, who’s looking for sponsors as she runs four races in four cities in memory of her mother to raise money for Mind, a mental health charity in England and Wales. Yes, that’s right, she’s a Brit and doesn’t even celebrate this holiday. Let’s show her what it’s all about.
P.P.S. EpicThanks.org asked me and others to write a post “from the heart” about “personal gratitude” and link to its site to promote a grassroots global fundraising campaign. Pretty sure I failed in all possible ways. But it’d be awesome if you check them out.