I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving. Though Thanksgiving wasn’t until Thursday, most classes were cancelled Tuesday and there was no school on Wednesday or Friday. All of my roommates had left by Tuesday afternoon, and I wasn’t making the 3 1/2 hour drive back to Georgia until Wednesday evening.
24 hours. Alone. Did I mention that my extroverted self hates being alone for more than a couple of hours?
Wednesday afternoon, I packed my bags for the 2 1/2 day “holiday.” The end result? A very full duffle bag (size XL), a full backpack, a camera bag, and a purse. That’s not too much stuff for less than 72 hours, right?
I wasn’t really excited about driving 3 1/2 hours to Georgia for the whole “Thanksgiving holiday thing.” I hate driving, and the interstate connecting Birmingham and the big A-T-L is perhaps one of the most boring roads east of the Mississippi.
Eventually, I made it.
Thanksgiving was weird and awkward. Around 11, my immediate family and I piled into a car and headed to the house that we’ve always gone to for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. However, after my “Aunt Faye” died (I’m not sure if she was actually my aunt), someone else in the family inherited the house. Problem is, I don’t know who the owner is. So, my family and I show at some distant relative’s house, and we’re the first ones there. Eventually, people start showing up, and I quickly realize that I only recognize about half of them. As for the people I do recognize, I get their names mixed up all the time, and I don’t know how any of them are actually related to me. (I found out later on that most of them aren’t my blood relatives).
My stomach growls. Whoops. I forgot to eat breakfast. I steal a piece of fudge, and my father, catching me, glares. Oh well, it’s for a good cause.
Once someone says the blessing, we all dig into the food. I’m not sure what half of it is. With casserole dishes, you never know what you’re getting yourself into. Seriously, casseroles, as easy as they might be to make, are risky.
I sit down at a table, and within moments, I’m surrounded by people that I vaguely know (assuming I know them at all)… yet somehow, they know who I am. They ask me where I go to college, what year I am, and what I’m studying.
One person asks me how my “new roommate” is. I’m not sure who she is referring to. I’ve had 3 roommates in the past 2 1/2 years, and my current one has been me for the past 1 1/2 years. Awkward.
Eventually, we leave that house, and head to my dad’s parent’s house. It’s just us and the grandparents. None of the cousins, aunts, or uncles are there. I’m about to fall asleep on myself. Between 3 1/2 hours of driving the previous night and spending all day around dozens of people who I don’t really know, I’m physically and emotionally pooped. Eventually, we head back to my parents’ house, and I quickly fall asleep.
The next morning, I wake up at 4:20. It’s Black Friday… but whatever reason, Black Friday started almost 12 hours ago. Yes. Twelve. At 5:00 (AM), I’m dressed and ready to leave the house with Mom, just as we had discussed the night before. But at 5:00, she was still sound asleep in bed.
I leave and head to the first store on my list. [Top secret Item for my brother]: Check. I head on to Khol’s, where, after about half an hour, I meet up with Mom. We do our shopping thing, and head out.
I’m starving by this point. When you wake up at 4:20 in the morning, you’re not really hungry, but by 7 AM, you’re starving. We head to Chick-Fil-A and shove some food in our mouths, trying to keep our eyes open.
We go stand outside the Office Depot, waiting for it to open. Eventually, around 8 AM, it does. Unfortunately, they also have “Black Friday” on Thanksgiving also from 6-9 PM, and half of what I wanted to buy is out of stock. Oh well. After Office Depot, we head off to Old Navy and a few other stores. Finally, we were done. No. More. Shopping. We return home, and I spend the rest of the day doing nothing.
That’s weird. I’m always doing something. Productivity is king. But nope, there I was, doing nothing, being bored, because nobody would play with me. Mom was doing housework, my brother was watching TV or doing homework or hanging up Christmas lights, and my father was writing some sort of very long paper for school. My family likes to complain about how they don’t see me enough, but when I come back to Georgia, they’re all too busy to play. Awk.
In the evening, Mom and I make snickerdoodle cookies from scratch. Note that when I say we make, I mean that I read the recipe out loud, and my mom does most of the actual cooking. I have a tendency to burn things and accidentally cut or skewer body parts with anything sharp… but so does my mom.
No blood was spilled, and no skin or cookies were burnt in the preparation and baking process.
I eventually convinced my family to play a game with me. I had bought a card game from one of my favorite book stores in town and was eager to play. It only took every member of the family reading the instructions multiple times and many trial runs of the game, before we finally figured out how to play the game properly. The scary part of this is that we are all teachers and/or honors students. It shouldn’t have been that hard to figure all of it out. Once we did figure it out, my family agreed that it was a good game. Success.
Saturday morning, I woke up, watched an episode of Gilmore Girls while packing, and drove 3 1/2 hours back to Birmingham. In those 69 hours called “Thanksgiving Break” I spent over 10% of my time driving. Sheesh.
I’m alone again as I type out these words. My roommates will return tomorrow evening, and the world will continue spinning.