My old pal Rupert Zaplinsky called the day before Thanksgiving Rock Kick Wednesday, since it brought out all sorts of people who had previously been hiding under rocks. Here in Flyover, USA, two major events occur on Thanksgiving Eve: the flooding of the grocery stores, and the bar reunion drink fest.
Both are filled with creepy crawlers, limping slime molds, and broken leg crickets–upright and in human form, of course. In short, it’s a blast. If you have the opportunity, enjoy the scenery. It is a people watcher’s dream.
The first stop should be the grocery store. What some don’t know is that there is a significant percentage of the population that goes to the grocery store only on the day before Thanksgiving. They come as families, extended families, even circus-like communities and travel through the bright lights of the grocery mart like many-headed beasts, marveling at the latest thing to be stuffed in a can and complaining about the cost of cheese.
They arrive showerless and combless, proud of their natural beauty. The group leader exhibits superiority over the cold weather by bearing his or her belly. Some have bellies so large and so hard, they would break through a prison cell if it came in XXL.
If you have ever wondered how our ancestors lived in caves or what happened to the Neanderthal, this will be a day of discovery. The one-day shoppers come from relatives’ pole barns, unused sheds, and year-round ice fishing shanties to buy food for their celebration of bounty. The strong smell of fire that lingers in their wake indicates that not only are they heating with wood, but heating with wood siding and checkered brown coaches.
I love them, and wonder what there lives are like throughout the rest of the year. How do they find so much camouflage? Do they set fire to their chairs when they binge watch Netflix? Have they heard of Netflix? I only see them in the brief moment they venture outside their element.
They do not profane the store as much as the store profanes them. I feel like an animal stuck in a zoo after I have seen evidence of wild humans.
Later in the day, venture into the local bar. Here the overturned rock will revealed college kids home for their first legal drink, and a wide variety of former residents in town to visit their elderly relatives who go to bed at 7. The light of the bar draws everyone in like moths.
No one who is sleeping in a guest room in their parents’ house wants to go to bed sober. So they drink. They pretend to remember people they meet. They begin asking real locals about places and people long gone. Shots!
If a bar held a class reunion for the entire town, this would be it. Here in Flyover, the majority of working adults from here are “from here” rather than here. So, everyone congregates and pretends to love the place they left. They try to pick up strangers whose names they know–and they hope the stranger they pick up isn’t staying at their parents’ house as well.
The conversations can be remarkably boring, but from-here-out-of-towners are quick gifters of drinks. And the way they mention restaurants they go to and worry about where they left their jacket is a source of constant amusement.
It is a lovely time of year. Kick a rock this Wednesday and bring in the holidays on a happy note.