Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday

So, yesterday, as many of you are probably aware, was Black Friday.  I knew Black Friday was coming, obviousy, because of all the hype that leads up to it, but, then, when it actually got here, and it was sort of just my lets-get-home-before-Sarah-has-to-go-to-work day, I forgot that it was also Black-Friday-when-people-buy-all-the-things.

You see, for most of my life, my entire family celebrated Thanksgiving on top of a large-ish hill in Arkansas (I would say mountain, except people who have seen the Rockies would argue with me…) very far away from Black Friday specials.

We ate traditional Thanksgiving food on the first day, and cooked a whole bunch of new foods the next day (a pleasant side effect of having a cousin who has a somewhat decent knowledge of more cultures than I can ever hope to acquaint myself with).

Oh, and the first day was called Thanksgiving, and the next day was called Friday, or The-Day-After-Thanksgiving, if you prefer that.

I have literally never been to a store (except maybe the grocery store in Smalltown, AR) on Black Friday in my life, and I really didn’t intend to ever set foot in one.  It’s not necessarily that I’m an embracer-of-causes or a lifter-up-of-the-underdog or even a pointer-of-fingers-at-consumerism.  I’m really not that noble.  I just really am not attracted to huge sales and the crowds that inevitably come with them.

So, back to yesterday, Black-Friday-that-I-forgot-was-Black-Friday.  We get home in time to send Sarah off to work, and I sit down to prioritize what I’m going to get done.  Lights on the tree, check; finish knitting project, almost check, then I remember something.  I recently bought a new-to-me laptop.  My old one is dying a slow and painful death, and I’ve decided to try a Macbook, so I bought a friend’s used one from her, just to see what I think.  But I need to back all of my stuff up like a responsible person.  I don’t have an external hard-drive or anything, so, I think to myself, well, I’ll just run to Walmart really quickly and see what they have.

I don’t know why it seemed like a good idea to go to Walmart right at that second, mid-knitting, but I can guarantee you that Black Friday never crossed my mind, or I most certainly would not have gotten up from my comfy sunny spot on the couch.

So, I get into the car, and drive peacefully to Walmart.  As soon as I pull into the parking lot, I know something is wrong.  If you have to wait in line for a parking space at what is possibly the only remaining only-open-until-11-pm-non-super Walmart left in Texas, something very strange is happening.

I remembered then, that it was Black Friday.

But then I thought to myself, it’s not like I avoid this tradition for any noble upstanding reasons.  I just don’t like the crowds and the herd mentality that inevitably manifests itself on such occasions.  Plus, I only needed one thing.

How difficult could it be to grab one thing from electronics and get out fast?

Difficult, folks.  Very very difficult.

I walked into that store and had the most bizarre experience ever.  This is literally the tiniest of Walmarts, but there were people from out of town inside!  How do I know that, you ask?  Because they had Starbucks cups in their hands…

I live in a tiny town with a tiny Walmart, where there is never a line of more than 6 people for every cash register available.  Except, maybe when all the Summer Staff go into town at once, but that’s a story for a different time…

The sheer amount of people was overwhelming.

In fact, I was so overwhelmed that I made a small involuntary noise, which made people turn their heads and look at me.  Not a scream, exactly, but probably a scream’s very small, timid cousin.

It was weird, people.  So weird, in fact, that I had to call Sarah for reassurance that I was actually still a normal human being in a normal world.  I ended up talking to Lima instead of Sarah, which was helpful, since she’s also a human, and quite a reassuring one at that.

I don’t get anxiety in crowds, or anything, but that experience unnerved me, and served to reinforce in my head that I don’t ever want to be a part of that crowd.

I kind of wanted to cry a little bit on the way home.

Then, when I got to my apartment, I pulled into the parking lot and saw a perfect patch of sun on my porch.  After my harrowing experience, I needed something soothing and calm, so I knew I needed to sit in that sunny spot and read a good book.  But, my porch floor is not exactly comfortable, and I have no patio furniture.

So, I exercised my creative side and pulled my comfy chair out of my living room onto the porch, and boy was it a lovely few hours.  Not only did I read a book, I had some tea and even enjoyed a lovely cat-nap.

My soul was satisfied.

Then the sun set and I came back inside.

And then my cell phone died and I realized I’d left my charger at my parents’ house.  Literally no one that I know in this town uses the same phone as I do (I live in a small town, remember?)

So where does this leave us?

You guessed it – it’s still Black Friday, and now Esther legitimately has to go to Walmart.  Now, I realize that maybe this wasn’t truly a “legitimate” need, and I could have lasted a little while without a phone, but I was at home alone and Sarah wasn’t going to be home from work for a while, and, honestly, I wasn’t too concerned for myself, but I could just imagine my Mother trying to call me, and not being able to get ahold of me, so calling Sarah, and Sarah calling me, and everyone getting very concerned, and someone deciding to leave work to make sure I was okay, and, and, and…

I decided to go to Walmart.

I got in my car all doom and gloom, then this order of events occurred:

The radio was playing only the best songs, and no commercials
I found a parking space easily
I crossed paths with a lovely girl in the parking lot, who was nice, and restored my faith in humanity
I walked into the electronics section and found exactly what I needed immediately
I got up to the registers, and there was one wide open, with a sweet girl working it

Throughout all of this, I was still expecting badness at every turn, but there was something about that checker that just knocked me out of my doom and gloom mind-set and made me realize that I had just had a lovely, smooth Walmart run.  Then, I couldn’t help but count the goodness:

I backed out of my parking space without hitting anyone (not that I normally hit people, but it’s one of my biggest fears that one day I will, and while we’re counting the goodness, why not count all of it?)
I got to a rather long red light and remembered the trick of turning on your brights to make the camera see you – worked like a charm
The radio was still playing all the best music
I found Christmas lights on my way home

I don’t really believe in “luck” per se, but I sure do believe in a God who gives good gifts to His children, and He treated me in a major way tonight.

For that, I am thankful.