"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Friday, December 7, 2012

Not So Black Friday

This year my mother said to me, for I swear to you the first time ever, "I want to go to Toys R Us. They open at 10." I had to do a brief mental re-cap of the day. Yes, we'd been gone for nine hours, yes, we'd taken a road trip into the middle of nowhere for Thanksgiving Dinner, hold on, this is Black Friday shopping we're talking about? Something we've never ever done? And you want to start now?

Was she seriously out of her mind?

 My mother, you understand, is not often the impulsive type. She has her comfort zones and she likes to remain safely within them. One year I actually had to remove her physically from the house (I mean, pick her up and carry her,) to come see Harry Potter with me. So for her to say this was in no uncertain terms a moment I did not want to waste.

So at quarter to ten that night we set out, in nowhere near enough clothing, to the Toys R Us. No parking spots, we had to park across the street in another complex. We walked. Not to the front of the building. Not to the side of the building. But to the back of the building, with the hobos, and the stock trailers. (See image!) Thirty-three degrees out and windy, we were so wishing we'd stopped off for some low-class gas station coffee before launching into this endeavor. And me, in boots with 1" heels!

What were we thinking?

Ladies, we were in that line for two hours. But here's the twist. I found community right there in the huddled masses who are often depicted on late-night news broadcasts as vicious and violent- nay- we were at the back of the line with those others resigned to being the last ones in. We were patient, and as a result, we made friends.

"Single-serving friends" we like to call them, a phrase taken from Fight Club, but friends they were nonetheless. Such a rare thing to find our solidarity in complete strangers from our town. We discussed much, from our kids to our piercings- shared umbrellas when it began to sleet and the world was looking bleak. We cheered together as we passed milestones around the building (the corner! the trailer! the bush!)

And when we finally made it through those doors it was as a unified front- no every man for himself here. We were on the same side. "I hope you find your castle!" The one mom called to me as we parted ways.
"Thanks!" I replied. And I didn't, but thanks. Because you changed the idea of what Black Friday meant to me.

There is community anywhere you look.

Originally written for the Kids Fun Plaza blog on 12/10/2010. Yes, I own my content.

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