Wednesday, November 27, 2013
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
No, not summer vacation. I’m talking Christmas shopping season! Crowded malls and nowhere to park and stores that are out of the one thing you’re looking for. Joy to the world!
I know it’s still officially Thanksgiving, but for a lot of stores Christmas started the second Halloween was over. The Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins went back in the freezer and the peanut butter trees took their place on the counters. (Why don’t they make peanut butter reindeer so we can bite their antlers off? Or squeeze the back end until peanut butter oozes out from under the tail? I think I just answered my own question.)
I’m already set for the holiday. Got my turkey and eggnog and a radio station that plays all 18 minutes of “Alice’s Restaurant.” If I decide to hit the movies, it’ll be to see the sequel to The Hunger Games, which seems appropriate for this particular holiday. As usual, there’s nothing much on TV except for football and the annual broadcast of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Remember when they used to run 24 hours of Clint Eastwood movies the day after Thanksgiving? They’d kick off with his spaghetti westerns and around 4 in the afternoon switch over to Dirty Harry and his more modern action movies. Those were the days.
I will NOT be going out on Black Friday. Not for gifts, not for groceries, not even if you paid me. I don’t even want to go out on the road. I think I’ll walk to the library. It’s safer.
I recall, in years gone by, when a bunch of us would drive down to Baltimore for an SF convention held on Thanksgiving weekend. Our route took us past the local mall. It was always jammed when we went by Friday morning. It was still jammed when we came back Sunday afternoon. I often wondered if it was the same people, and they’d simply camped out in the food court instead of going home. That’s one way to guarantee a good parking space.
Now the shopping insanity starts on Thanksgiving day itself. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t stores used to be closed on Thanksgiving? I seem to recall a distant year in the ‘80s when one of the local department stores opened for limited hours. Yeah, we went. After you’ve eaten and if you don’t like football and who wants to wash all those dishes, what else is there to do, really? Once again I’ve answered my own question.
For those of you who plan to go bargain hunting, a couple of tips gleaned from my experience. Go early. Have a plan and a list. Don’t try to find a parking space close to the store. You’ll drive yourself nuts. During this season, the best parking spot is whichever one’s open. So what if you have to walk a little farther? It’ll do you good. Besides, since you’ll be going early, you’ll be done before it gets dark. By the time you head out, the lot will be jammed and your spot, which looked so far away when you parked there, will be primo real estate. Yes, I have been automotively stalked by shoppers eager to take my vacated spot. This got embarrassing the one year when I couldn’t remember where I’d parked. At least two drivers followed me around in the hopes of grabbing my parking space. This is the time of year when I really miss my old VW Beetle. That domed roof made spotting my car in a crowded lot extra easy.
Forget all that. I don’t have much shopping to do, so I can put it off. Stuff will still be there. I’ve never had to go out the day before Christmas. I have gone driving on Christmas day to see if anything’s open. It used to be convenience stores and Blockbuster. Somebody was always there. Guess there’s nothing on TV Christmas Day, either.
This year I’m giving thanks that the powers that be at the CW network will be running Supernatural into Season 10, so I get to look at these guys for at least another year. This show has inspired three of my published books and a couple I have on my to-be-written list. If it ever goes off the air, I may have to give up writing, or go back to ripping off comic books. Happy holidays, everybody!