The Between Season_Michael H. Thomson-From Thanksgiving to New Years – Not too much gets done
Of course, that's a lie. Many things are done during this slow time of the year when the days get progressively shorter and colder. During this time of the year, we reacquaint with friends and relatives that we don't see that often during the busy months. Our phone bills climb as we call someone too far away to visit. We read, we think, we go to movies, and … we eat.
Think about it. From last Thursday until today – nearly a week after Thanksgiving, how much have you eaten? How much more are you going to eat prior to New Years? Ten thousand step walker that I am
, this week I suddenly decided that Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving and the world might surely tip on its axis if I didn't eat the correct quotient of sweet potato pie. Of course, that had to be balanced out with equal portions of cold turkey sandwiches, and creamy eggnog - drank right from the bottle. Eggnog never seems to be cold enough for me. Sometimes I put a bottle in the freezer compartment almost to the point of icing up. Ymm good!
Another thing about this time of year that I find peculiar – I can't seem to get interested in current events. The war in Iraq goes on and you can't help praying that no parent or loved one gets that cold knock at the door from a group of uniformed strangers informing them that the one they cherish won't be celebrating any more holidays with them. That's tough, but other than that, this time of year I could care less about the Iraqi parliamentary elections or Saddam's trial. Saddam – now there's a piece of work. How many times do we get to see a full-blown sociopath making pronouncements live on our TV screen?
I couldn't even get excited about that California congressional representative who confessed to taking millions of dollars in bribes from a defense contractor. I just languidly pondered how a man in the latter years of his life could so casually throw that life away. Think of the dark cloud of emotion hanging over his family, friends, and supporters this holiday season. The human condition stinks at times.
On the bright side, this time of year the stores are full of interesting gadgets. I was trying to spruce up my wardrobe for the annual Christmas party sponsored by my wife's employer and I came across something very fascinating – at least to me it was fascinating – an alarm clock. Yes an alarm clock. For $29.95, a radio alarm clock was being offered that did not just wake you up to music, but to your favorite sound. Yes, friends, in addition to having the time projected on your bedroom wall, you could awake to the sounds of 1) a tropical rainforest 2) pounding surf 3) torrential rain 4) gentle rain, 5) birds 6) wind, and there was another sound, but it didn't interest me so you will have to make that discovery for yourself. I'll probably break down and buy one of these.
Then there's "Dancing Dan." The week prior to Thanksgiving I went grocery shopping at the Fort Detrick Commissary in Frederick, Maryland. Fort Detrick is a small military post not many miles from the idyllic village of Paeonian Springs, Virginia. The baggers work for tips and I had many groceries – Thank You Lord – so the bagger carried them out to the truck for me. Pulling my billfold out of my trousers, I accidentally knocked my pedometer off my belt. It fell to the pavement and I had to explain to the bagger what a pedometer was and how it measured steps for fat people like me who don't get enough exercise in a day. I told him my goal was ten thousand steps a day. Thinking I hadn't impressed him, I gave my tip and started to climb in the truck when he said,
"I wonder how many steps 'Dancing Dan' gets in a day?" Of course, partial observer that I am, I had to ask…
It seems in Frederick, Maryland, there is a character wearing a Walkman that goes all over town dancing. Once someone noticed "Dancing Dan's" Walkman was not plugged in and surmised that "Dancing Dan" had his own music inside his head. My bagger figures "Dancing Dan" is skinny because he has already exceeded his ten thousand-step daily exercise allocation. Since The Partial Observer has a number of devotees to a variety of musical tastes, I suppose it is my duty to someday go to Frederick, Maryland, run "Dancing Dan" to ground, and find out what kind of music is making him dance non-stop.
I might do that someday, but right now, I'm still thinking about that alarm clock!
Happy Holidays everyone! MHT