Thanksgiving is here and the holiday season is in full swing. The pandemic is still around trying to ruin all the fun and we are on a second lockdown in my city. Uncertainty still looms large over the heads of people in America and abroad. But when your life is on the grocery line those things are crushed under the weight of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and the chaos of lines wrapped around the building full of people waiting to pick up meals prepared specifically for their family. It’s channeled chaos. And this was my first experience with the holiday season at a grocery store. I hadn’t a clue about what goes on in the belly of the beast. But now I know.
In the past, I’d go up to my parents’ house and eat food, drink beer, watch football for a few hours then pass out on the couch. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for just those reasons. It seemed so simple. And before 2020, for me, it was. I didn’t really participate in the holidays. I just celebrated them. When you work at a grocery store the dynamic changes at least a little bit. You experience it all in a different way. It connects (or chains) you to these moments people have with their families. And for me, that’s been the prominent theme throughout this year; we are all connected
The week building up to Turkey Day was stacked with anticipation and the preparation was fascinating in the mechanical and organized way in which it played out. Days flew by as if they were only an hour long. Shipments were double the size of a normal busy day. Every time I stopped to look around I was left a little breathless, broken and ready for more.
As I write this on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it’s almost as if I am describing a dream I had. Thanksgiving Eve day sailed along at a frenetic pace as lines of people waited for their pre-packaged dinners. I didn’t even know what to do when I walked in the door at work. Our team buyer looked at me and said, “Are you OK? You are looking at me like I’m crazy.” I didn’t think that but I felt a little shell shocked and wondered what my role was in this all?
That’s still a good question but it wasn’t important to think about on the busiest day of the year. I just needed to move quickly. Soon, I figured out how to help the team quickly and my time absorbed into grocery store walls like water into a sponge. I worked until 12am without incident then rode my bike home through the empty streets of holiday quarantine. I had just finished eight days working in a row. The world was a copy of a copy of a copy and I moved through the cold night air like a ghost.
Overall, my Thanksgiving this year was one of my favorites. My body was sore and tired, and still is. My soul was cleansed through a blitzkrieg work. I was able to see my nieces and nephew for the first time in months. They are getting older and wiser and I hope for them to make good decisions.
After I ate dinner at my parents house, I went to a friend’s place and drank whiskey with a couple friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time. One of them two is having a baby soon. The world keeps moving no matter the circumstance. We discussed the year’s events and our thoughts on the state of the world. And what a wild one it’s been.
It feels like I am waking up from a fever dream or piecing together the details after a car crash. I think it will take a long time before I come to a remote understanding of what 2020 means to me in my life. But, from what I can understand now, I have to say it’s one of my most important, groundbreaking trips around the sun that I’ve experienced. And it’s not over yet. I am finding my place and refining my story. And I’m thankful for that. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.