Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Braving the Maelstrom

What is it about holidays that makes people dumb? They go to the store to buy a cart full of items for the holiday and instead of proceeding through the store with speed and efficiency, they linger, usually in a bottle neck. They wander about pushing their enormous carts with vacant or befuddled looks on their faces. They scan the shelves as if searching for the Holy Grail. They harass the employees who understandably want the whole ordeal to be over. Why should buying eggs and milk and butter and meat be such a challenge now? Have they not bought these things virtually every week if not every day? It's true, they need more of these things than usual but surely mere quantity should not cause this kind of confusion. Many of them have lists. Lists are meant to make the job easier and yet by some alchemy of the holiday they cause consternation and delay instead.

You have probably deduced that I went shopping today. I am making several desserts for the two Thanksgivings that I'm going to. Fortunately, I managed to get everything that I needed without having to resort to violence. I was reminded that I will have to do some actual Christmas shopping in the next month. I am not looking forward to it. Every year I wish that someone would institute a passing lane on New York sidewalks and allow the use of a cattle prod in the nastier stretches of department stores.

And yet, I do like the holidays. I enjoy seeing my family and friends. I love baking and making chocolates. I like wrapping presents and decorating them with ribbons. I relish my guilty pleasure of Starbuck's eggnog lattes. I relax in the glow of the lights on my Christmas tree.
In spite of my irritation I must admit that it is worth the trouble.

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