Archives for posts with tag: Black Friday

Sleeping in was nice this morning. Sipping my coffee, sitting in the open doorway to the deck on a rainy Friday morning felt luxurious. Today is mine. For me. I’ve got a long weekend.

A perspective on an autumn morning from an open doorway.

I can’t help but think about the many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of retail workers who will not get this long weekend with their families, or to get some downtime for themselves, or the opportunity so many of us get to do our own thing for a few days after a holiday purportedly about gratitude. They are indentured servants to American Greed. Their employers force them back onto the clock (or they risk losing their jobs) in order to staff shops that Americans visit with a frenzy – a fury – that puts Greed on display for all the world to see. It is a purely American phenomenon as far as I am aware. I find it, personally, rather grotesque. I don’t participate. I don’t shop. I stay home, or go hiking. I stay out of retail spaces, and I stay off the city streets. It’s scary dangerous out there; shoppers have finished with all that “being grateful” stuff, and now it is open warfare to secure the goods for their family holiday (or, let’s be honest, themselves). No thank you.

I can’t hold it against people who are among the poor or working poor that they pull hard-earned limited funds together to do their holiday shopping on this one day of the year; retailers exploit that honest vulnerable yearning to give their families a little something more, to have something nice, to improve their quality of life. It sickens me to see people who can afford to quite properly shop on just any day, and comfortably afford sufficient holiday luxuries for their loved ones and safely avoid this horrible festival of exploitation and greed, getting out there rampaging through shops and malls showing off the worst of who they can be in order to save money they could have afforded to spend. Most particularly I object to this spectacle because it is the participation, in the first place, that makes it a thing at all.  I find it uncomfortable that it falls on the day after Thanksgiving. Seriously? For fuck’s sake, the timing could not put our greed on higher contrast if we’d carefully selected the timing for that very purpose. It tends to call our gratitude into question.

So… I just don’t.

I’m not walking your mile, and I can’t point fingers or judge you as an individual for shopping on Black Friday. I just also feel sad that the very existence of Black Friday as a thing means that retail workers, specifically, some of the least adequately paid workers in America, get completely fucked out of enjoying a long holiday weekend with their families that many of us get to take for granted – and also don’t get to shop. It’s like an extra helping of “fuck you” for those workers. (How can I not show solidarity, myself, when this is my awareness, and my perspective?) Since I can’t actually change it, and I do actually object, I therefore do not participate, that’s all. 🙂

I guess I’m just saying – if this is a “holiday”, it’s celebrating something pretty horrible, and just maybe we should take another look at what we’re celebrating.

…a short stack of books…an entire day off…

I make another coffee. I consider the day ahead, here at home. It’s a nice one for a hike, mild and only somewhat drizzly. I could stay in and paint without interruption, or relax and read one of the books in the wee stack that has built up since last year, that I continue to promise myself I’ll get around to. I could commit to mindful service to hearth and home, break out that “to do list” and get to work on it. It is a day suitable for beginning again. 🙂

 

Thanksgiving is already a memory, which seems a shame when I consider how many people seem to save their celebration of plenty and their gratitude for one day on the calendar; there is so much good in life that is plentiful, and so much to be grateful for. I woke this morning, after a restless night, still feeling appreciative, still grateful, still thankful…and…I think I’m also still feeling a bit overfed, actually. The U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude and plenty taken to excess. The food was exceptional, and having chosen to go out for our holiday meal this year, there was no stress around preparation, serving, or clean up…a lavish meal, an experience of gratitude and plenty, and more time spent on enjoying the company than laboring to create that moment of joy.

I did miss the cooking. I also missed the hours and days of conversation and planning leading up to the meal. Connecting joyously in advance of the holiday to imagine, and plan, and reminisce about other holidays, other meals, other recipes. This holiday was scaled down, and fairly quiet by choice and by popular vote. My enjoyment of planning and anticipation are not universally shared, and this year it was nearly impossible to get a single conversation going about Thanksgiving in advance of the holiday. I enjoyed the holiday outside the kitchen, as an exception and a treat, and it was lovely that there was simply nothing to fuss about, and no stress or frustration. No ‘holiday temper’.

Here it is “Black Friday”.  There will be terrible shopping anecdotes aplenty, and people – a lot of people – will behave as though they’ve never even heard of gratitude, thanks, or compassion. People who were dishing meals to the homeless yesterday may well be queued up outside some retailer today, waiting for the doors to open so they can begin to claw their way angrily through the throng of other shoppers to assuage their greed for goods at a low price. The year-long struggle to thrive erupts on Black Friday into a furor of entitlement leading up to a holiday about giving…revealing some ugly qualities of character among us long enough for some appalling video to reach the internet.  The greed is emblematic of the sickness taking us over. More for less. More goods for less money – regardless what it costs to produce those goods. More results for less effort. More. On Black Friday sufficiency is removed from the American lexicon, for more than a few people.

Gratitude isn’t really about ‘more’, though, is it?

A path, a journey, a moment.

A path, a journey, a moment.

It’ll be a quiet Black Friday for me – I’m taking advantage of some really great deals, today, too. I am off work today, and having that leisure time is an incredible value in additional time to read, to write, to meditate – to enjoy my experience of the day. I’ll take time to meditate at leisure at no cost, free, and if I act now I’ll benefit immediately! Yoga, writing, painting, reading… all at my fingertips, with no more expense than the investment in time and effort – the savings are huge! I’ll likely go for a walk at some point, and enjoy the loveliness of autumn before it becomes winter, and consider the holidays to come as I walk. I may spend some part of the day or weekend preparing for the holidays, it’s true, even being involved in gifts-to-be; I enjoy the inspiring work of hand-making gifts, gifts that are 100% not about money; paintings, clay figures, poetry, books I have loved and want to share, small tokens of great delight and fondness. The gifts I enjoy best – both giving and receiving – are the ones that connect me most closely to people, whatever sort of gifts those turn out to be. A great gift isn’t about what it cost, it’s about what it means.

I’ve spent days wracked with anxiety, but I woke without it this morning. Promising. Today is a good day to journey safely, and be mindful of what matters most. Today is a good day to spend more time than money. Today is a good day to turn away from greed. Today is a good day for gratitude, thankfulness, and perspective. Today is a good day to change the world.