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Wednesday, November 22, 2000

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The day before thankfulness

You know, I enjoy having Thanksgiving with family and friends, but I never feel the most grateful or thankful on Thanksgiving. It seems to be such a "should" thing to do. You aren't suppose to not be thankful on Thanksgiving Day. Even if it's been a real sucky few days or week or month, you're suppose to come up with a real sappy reason to be thankful.

You can't say you're thankful because your hemorroids don't bother you today (which is something that you can genuinely be thankful for) or that you managed to not make a nasty remark to the office bitch. You can't beam as you announce that your constipation seems to be better or that the run in your brand new $7.95 pair of tights is above your knee so you can still wear it with long skirts. Oh, no, you have to, once again, say that isn't it wonderful that we can all be together, which is wonderful, but it's not the first thing you're grateful about when you wake up. Smelling coffee perking is.

There are any number of days throughout the year where I do feel very grateful and thankful about many things, but the forced gratefulness of Thanksgiving always grated on me. The forced love and peace of Christmas is also a problem. We try to put all our hopes and fears into a few days and put a lid on them and then get on with our lives, instead of being thankful all year long for things that we really can be grateful about, things that do indeed give us a reason to bound out of bed, like waking up and realizing that there is not a single thing that you HAVE to do that day. That is something to be grateful for.

I would suggest that we need a holiday in which to just sit and watch the clouds but pretty soon people would be selling cloud cards. We would have campaigns to make sure that we realize how wonderful it is that on this day we can watch clouds. We would be made to feel like grinches if we preferred to look at clouds on another day and would be accused of causing untold grief to darling children if we suggest that looking at clouds isn't a cure for the ills of the world.

We get so obsessive about some holidays but others, that I think are important, such as the 4th of July which is treated more like an excuse to get off work instead of celebrating freedom. Now I would enjoy celebrating the solstice as I always find it amazing, even though I know why unlike the people thousands of years ago who thought the sun was dying, to see the days shorten and then, suddenly it seems start getting long again. I always feel like it takes forever for the days to get short but they get long much faster. I'm sure there's a psychological reason for this, but I love watching the mornings get lighter and lighter as I walk to work.

I finished reading "The Lazarus Hotel" by Jo Bannister. This is one of those stranded together somewhere books where the people start to realize that they have something in common and then they start getting killed. Most of these are pretty hokey and this has it's hokiness but is very well done. Several people come to a therapy retreat in the penthouse of a new hotel that is still under construction. They get stranded because the stairs are filled with rubble and the elevator stops working.

It's very interesting as each of the people talk about their lives and why they need, are told they need, don't think they need therapy or resolution in their lives. It's much more plausible than blurting out intimate or humiliating or criminal things in their lives to total strangers, which is the usual plot of these stranded mysteries. The resolution is well done and even made me want to know how these people went on with their lives.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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