November 24, 2016 (Thurs.)

by Yule Heibel on November 23, 2017

And so it’s Thanksgiving today. I let myself be pulled into clicking on a Washington Post article as I went to my phone to look for the Focus@Will app I like to use during #MorningPages. It was a “cheat sheet” for Black Friday, and I learned (as if I need to) about which stores open today (Thursday, Thanksgiving) at 3pm, at 6pm, at midnight, and so on. I glimpsed photos of people in check-out lines, pushing carts loaded with flat-screen TVs the size of boats. (The photos presumably were last year’s.) I did not need to see this. It was a bit like looking at photos of war atrocities or really bad pornography.

I can compare those pictures with what I see looking out my window right now, perched as I am on my hill, three or four stories above a house-lined state route below me. There’s a football field not far from me – about 1/3 mile or less on this street, and I guess there’s a big game there this morning. Consequently, I can see large numbers of people – nearly crowds by these more suburban standards – walking down the street’s sidewalks to the stadium. Fathers and daughters, bros, white and black kids, middle-aged women carrying poster board (to hold up during the game?, aunties who aren’t needed – yet – in the kitchen?), and so on. I look at them – look down at them, but only because of the relative great height I view them from – and think, “Are some of you going to participate in the Black Friday wars?”

I can hear the pounding of drums, like tribal tom-toms, the rival dreams revving up their fans and players. Soon there will be approving roars from the crowd. The drums will beat out their rhythm, the football players will be silent. They will be silent, like the workers staffing the stores open at ungodly holiday hours today and tomorrow.

And the crowds keep streaming, crossing the street in great clumps, forcing traffic to stop. Many people will be parking on my hill and walking to the stadium from here. When they cross the street, the dogs at the corner house will go nuts, as they have been incessantly. It’s a field day of orchestral barking for them. I hope their vocal chords snap.

It’s 9:40am now, the pedestrian crowds are thinning out, but here comes another bunch, four middle-aged men and a petite woman. The dogs bark, the drums drum, the former to my right, the latter to my left. It’s a cacophony in stereo. The men look like they played at the stadium when they themselves were high schoolers here. It’s a pageant of an historical type, if not exactly epic, then definitely local. How many of the middle-aged women walking past had their first affairs with the football jocks of their day? How many guys recall their favorite cheerleader when they sit in the bleachers this slightly-warmer-than-yesterday-but-hinting-at-damp-weather-to-come Thursday? Many of you will soon be home again for turkey dinner, after which some of you will go to work or go to shop and keep the game going.

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