This year I received a pin marking my 15th year working for my company. How lucky am I to have a job I love for all of these years? It’s just around this time of year – working in a store is tough. Look – if I won the lottery today I’d still work through the holiday season rather than leave my dear colleagues in the lurch. But I would be joyous – not only because of my great winnings (I have a rich fantasy life) but because, it would be my last. Fifteen years of my 17 year old daughter’s life around the holidays, have been experienced through the prism of me in retail insanity. I mostly come home exhausted and full of bah-hum-bug, a grouchy cookie baker, reluctant to listen to yet more Christmas music. Poor kid.
Don’t get me wrong — there are parts of the madness I love. It’s great to have the bookstore bustling with energy, readers delighting in discovering new books. What I don’t enjoy is the sense of exaggerated emergency that seems to linger like a frost from ‘Black Friday’ until New Year’s. It’s like everyone has imbibed too much coffee. This year, that amped-up feeling seems even more intense around here because of Sandy the hurricane, everyone is scrambling, anxiety twisting our gut.
I hate that feeling. And I wonder why I am susceptible to it? I have lived through real emergencies and know to my core that not being able to get the right book on time hardly counts as one. This manic-mode is not necessary, nor even helpful – yet, here I go again.
But not yet. Today is Thanksgiving and — I do give thanks. After roasting vegetables, making another pie, stuffing, cranberry sauce and green beans, the three of us will walk across the street to celebrate with our dear friends. I’ll do my best to hang on to the sweetness of this shared celebration – to seize this day as the start of a busy, but mellow and joyous holiday season. Because who knows – I still might win the lottery.