Strong words for Black Friday

I hate Black Friday.  I will probably reflect on this post later and delete it, ashamed with myself for such a blatant display of emotion.  At this time, however, Let it be known that Black Friday is a shit day that should not exist. Yes, I called it a shit day. It is not a holiday. It should not begin on Thanksgiving night. On one of the few weekdays of the year when many/most Americans have the day off, they should not be lured to stores with ads proclaiming the best sales ever. Guess what? The sales aren’t that good. They offer similar ones all year round. Some are slightly better than normal but WHY WHY WHY would you spend a precious day off and a chance to be with your family and friends roasting marshmallows (or not, if you are vegetarian and know horse hooves or something else horsey is in marshmallows) over open fires or playing yahtzee or settler’s of catan SHOPPING. IN DEPARTMENT STORES. WITH FAKE AIR. FLUORESCENT LIGHTS. AND CHRISTMAS MUSIC. If you like Christmas music, and want it, go ahead. Be my guest, please. That’s an important tradition for some folks. But don’t spoonfeed fluorescent lighting, perfumed air, and 60% items to me or the rest of this country. What ever happened to relaxing with loved ones? We are drowning in commercialism, drowning in materialism in this country (while millions of us lack some very important human rights like health care, and a safe place to live). Why are we being told to race to stores at 6 am to buy more stuff that we actually don’t need?

I am bitter. This much is clear. My family should be in Mt. Hood National Forest right now, like we have been most of my life. Leftovers should be crowding the counters (or not, because we really should cut back on the amount of food cooked and consumed), hemlocks and douglas firs should be sleeping outside the windows, the air should smell like old cabin and a crackling woodstove, and the toilet seat should be uncomfortably cold and something I dread visiting in the middle of the night. Or I should be camping in the woods. I shouldn’t be around department stores. I don’t think I actually even knew what Black Friday was until high school because my extended family always celebrated Thanksgiving at the mountain and the ads were just something we fed the woodstove.

I am angry that a day that should just be about giving thanks and celebrating one another’s company has become about gluttony, football, and preparing for shopping the next day. I am upset at the superficiality of it. And I am sad. I am disappointed that my family no longer spends time at the cabin with the rest of our Oregon family. I am scared of how real these ads are now that I am in town with the actual stores rather than an hour or two and a world away. I am not ready to say bye to the best holiday I ever could have asked for, even though things have changed, perhaps for good in my family.

Tonight or tomorrow I am burning the ads. Black Friday will turn orange, blue, then black, before being reduced to grey ash. It will warm my hands briefly before I return them to my pockets in darkness. I don’t have proper gloves. Maybe I’ll invest in some sometime, maybe not. But anything I need, I won’t be getting from Black Friday.

**P.S. I know the first Thanksgiving was an atrocious massacre and a stain on our history that should not be falsely immortalized as a peaceful gathering of two cultures. I choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, however, with love for my family and friends, and the desire to learn about and appreciate other people’s experiences. A day of gratitude is a wonderful thing. I apologize for spending time on my petty hatred of the commercialism Thanksgiving and its friend Friday have experienced. I will rejoin my family now.”

P.P.S. My main debate is whether to drag up the firepit from the basement or if I should just create my own contained circle on the back patio. I don’t want to scar or otherwise damage the grass and soil. Resource management, you know.

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