Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, my company closed an hour early, presumably so that employees could get a jump on the holiday weekend, but my boss, Elsbeth, took it upon herself to shut every single light on our floor Tai Chi-style with my sidekick, Greg, following close behind, leaving Ling, Under Ling and I waiting anxiously by the door. I had strained my lower back a few days earlier while auditioning for Cirque du Soleil in the privacy of my own bathroom. Therefore, I stood waiting in agony, carrying my messenger bag, a bottle of wine, a duffel bag and a month’s worth of New Yorkers to read on my journey to New Jersey since I was doing my usual, spending Turkey Day with my friend, Martini Max, and his family. Fearing that my metamorphosis into a human pack mule would worsen my injury I delicately asked of my superior:
Me: What the fuck is she doing? Let’s get the hell out of here before I end up in a full body cast!
Elsbeth, who is equipped with hearing worthy of a feral beast hunting for prey deep in the woods, got the message and joined us in the doorway. While staring at me grimacing in pain laden with luggage and gifts, she asked:
Elsbeth: When are you going to visit your friend in New Jersey?
Me (thinking): If we can ever get the hell out of here and I can forgo getting a morphine drip, the goal is today.
Me (saying): Today.
It was evident that it never occurred to my Lord and Master that I generally do not carry an extra forty pounds of luggage and gifts on my person every day. As for the grimace on my face, she probably assumed it is my natural expression as I approach completing a second full year of 2008 level wages memorably reduced by 20% in the wake of inauguration day 2009, an act of cruelty that could soon turn me into a homicidal maniac. By the time we walked out the door, everyone else in our company had bolted and night had fallen. When I reached the Canal Street subway station the A train I needed to catch was pulling out. Fortunately, another arrived quickly, and I was on my way to Max-ville.
My three-day hiatus with Max and his kin was therapeutic and the food, as always, was excellent, the guests were amiable, the children behaved, and even the dog, gifted with a bone, was mellow. I was so uncharacteristically relaxed I forgot to take pictures. Upon returning to Max’s apartment following Thanksgiving dinner, we noticed that one of his neighbor’s got a jump on cluttering his hallway with their Christmas decorating, or as Max said:
Max: Oh look, Christmas dunce caps.