there is something so darn endearing about this holiday. it’s a lot like christmas, but without the hassle of gift giving, tree buying, and light hanging. plus, it is a holiday centered around delicious home-y food. i can only speak for myself here, but i’ve never experienced bad food on thanksgiving. even when i wasn’t completely impressed with the food, i still couldn’t say it was bad. this holiday is more or less perfect for people who don’t cook because anyone in charge of any main or side dish knows that the pressure is on to perform well. even the worst cooks step it up a notch (or three) at thanksgiving, guaranteeing that you will be content with the food on the table. it may not knock your socks off with flavor or flare, but it is more than edible. and i know from experience, having eaten side dishes cooked by people who tend to avoid the kitchen, that they really do put their best foot forward and manage to put something on the table that is not considered a disaster or even a near disaster. and sometimes that thing that they produced ends up being the star of the side dish show. a true honor for culinary underdogs.
speaking of feet, i have a short story to tell you that involves one of my feet, the left one. this past monday morning i was jogging around north beach. it’s a long enough story as to why i turned my head, taking my eyes away from the pavement for a split second, but i did. the result? my left foot landed on an uneven piece of the sidewalk, rolled left, bounced back to the right, and catapulted me superman style onto the pavement. my iPod and headphones went flying ahead of me. i landed more or less on my right knee (the knee that i fractured during the summer when a pair of heels had a not so lovely love affair with the cable car tracks on market street). i lay on the sidewalk, on my stomach, rather stunned. i felt an immediate pain in my left foot. my first thought was not so much about, “am i ok?” but more like, “are you kidding me?” if i’m a professional anything, it would be clutz.
this is when god spoke to me.
i sat up, gathering my iPod and headphones. i sat on the sidewalk with my back against a wall. my right knee was bleeding and i cradled my left foot while it throbbed with pain. out of nowhere this female voice said, rather soft and sweet and ethereal, “are you ok?” i spun my head around to look for the source of the voice. no one was around. i was surrounded by a big empty sidewalk and intersection. i looked all around me and finally said, “uh. um. yes, i’m ok, thank you.. where are you?” she did not reply to me or say anything more. i just sat there holding my left foot, rocking back and forth, biting my bottom lip in pain, and trying to suppress a bit of laughter. laughter because i am so accident prone it is, at this point, just plain funny. it’s also incredibly frustrating and upsetting, but i have learned (the hard way) that i have two choices in moments like this. laugh or cry? neither will actually get you anywhere, but i know that laughing feels better. so i’ve taken to laughing at myself on the regular. (and a quick word from the wise, if you’ve just spoken to someone who’s fallen, don’t suggest that they try to “stay vertical” from now on. it’s not funny or clever, it’s annoying).
this woman’s voice probably came from an apartment window overlooking my spill on the sidewalk, but i never saw her. i’d rather just think that god was asking me if i was ok and god definitely had a lady’s voice. so i’m pretty sure god is, in fact, a lady (or a man who’s voice never dropped). regardless, i’m going to go ahead and tell people from now on that i have heard the voice of god (even though i don’t believe in god and (probably) never will). life is a lot more tolerable when you live blindly and intentionally in denial, and i really am going for tolerable these days. if you broke four bones in the space of six months, you’d not only understand but also agree with me.
thanksgiving day has finally come to an end. i had plans to do absolutely nothing. as much as i love my family and friends, gathering around a table for a holiday has rarely been a stress free event. it wasn’t always stressful in years past, but just plain meh. even when the night goes smoothly and as planned, i always felt this total sense of depression at the end of the meal. you usually spend the whole day (and probably the night before) cooking and planning for the great feast. if you are anything like me, by the time you sit down to the dinner table (and we have always planned to eat around five, but usually didn’t end up eating before seven), you aren’t even that hungry anymore. it’s a combination of exhaustion (since you woke up at some ungodly hour to begin cooking) and the fact that while you were cooking for seven hours you nibbled on things here and there. by the time all is said and done, the sight of a fresh oven roasted turkey, whipped potatoes, and perfectly sauteed brussels sprouts is not that exciting because you’ve been staring at and tasting it all day long. all i really want at that point is a glass of chilled white wine, a cigarette, and some terrible cable television. forgive me for being so d*mn american sometimes.
so i decided to surpass all of the nonsense this year. no turkey for me. no dining room table. no cranberry sauce. no arguments. no expectations. i painted for the better part of the day. i listened to my favorite music. i elevated and iced my broken foot. i snuggled my cat. i woke up at eight. cleaned my kitchen and showered. i painted. i met a friend at noon for a coffee. i accompanied him to an artist’s studio to view some paintings. i returned home and painted some more. and then i received a phone call from another friend who had, just the day before, invited me to an ‘orphan’s thanksgiving dinner’ at a house in the haight. i was hesitant to accept the invitation because i was adamant about staying home alone, but by the time 5:00 rolled around, i was getting a little restless and leaving my apartment for a free meal sounded pretty good.
i was promised that it would be easy, friendly, simple, and free of expectations. i arrived around 6:30 during the middle of dinner. there were about fifteen people there, i knew only a couple of them (artists and customers from work). i ate a small helping of turkey, taters, cranberry sauce, and brussels sprouts. i met several people and they were all easy, friendly, simple, and free of expectations, just as i had been promised. i did not feel the need to entertain or be entertained. i tasted the best pie of my life (some caramel concoction with a whipped cream top and buttery crust, currently looking into who made it and what it is because i was speechless after trying it).
it was a perfect thanksgiving. i headed home about three hours later, comfortably full (not painfully stuffed like most years) and happy. i am now turning in for bed because tomorrow i am working retail on one of my least favorite days of the year, black friday. i think if it were three years ago, i’d be complaining about and dreading it, fearful of all the target-black-sale-ish customers i will likely be forced to deal with tomorrow. but to be totally honest? i’m excited. i’m excited to watch our store make money. i’m excited to chat up customers. i’m excited because i work in such a beautiful store and i get to show it off tomorrow. i’m excited because i really do love my job, which is more than a lot of people can say. and i’m excited despite the fact that my left foot is broken and i have a feeling i’ll be on my
feet crutches for the better part of the day.
i hope you had as lovely a holiday as i did. stress free, friendly, simple, and free of expectations. i am grateful for just being here on this earth. for the wonderful people and animals in my life. for a job i love. for a roof over my head. and for the best pie of my life.
happy thanksgiving from a very content year of the pig studio <3
[35mm film, manual nikon. double decker, london 2008.]