Thanksgiving - The Day After [If only there was a retail-related buzz phrase we could call today...]

• Friday, November 26, 2010
Day late. Sorry, all I can say is that I wasn't really up to this last night, try though I might.

Some of the things I'm thankful for this year are insanely stupid. The internet, for instance. It's hard for me, you know, to admit this, but in a lot of ways my social life isn't all that different from your run-of-the-mill basement-dweller. I don't see a lot of people in real life, and a lot of my conversations take place in instant messages, or over the phone. It's not all my fault, of course -- this place, this whole state, is starved for counter-culture, starved for regular culture, and if you're not in the shadow of a college town, the internet is really your best bet. Without it, I wouldn't have stumbled on Cobain's K Records Tattoo, I wouldn't have read about The Gits, I wouldn't have this blog.

Without those things, there wouldn't have been the top ten horror lists, the Indie Pop and the Riot Grrrl music, the past couple of weeks absorbed into Sara Marcus's book, Caitlin's friendship, the hours spent with music videos, actual music videos on YouTube, all the little things that have brought me some modicum of joy this past year, and more importantly, the inspiration. Also wouldn't have found Eric and Dave, the Mod Myth guys, which brought Ander to me for this recent project, and got me working on "New Hooverville" again. The list goes on and on, there's so many things I wouldn't have been exposed to, if not for all of this.

And Twitter. Just the privilege, the opportunity, to link so much good work for others, to promote all of the talented individuals I've come to know either in real life or on the internet. And the accessibility, the chance to talk to journalists, and comic people, and fellow bloggers, folks who I'm just so glad to have that line to now.

Plus the opportunity to reconnect, with J'aime, with Amelia, with so many others, while being able to stay in touch with Ian on Skype, and John on Gchat. John, for the company, the proofreading, and being committed to us having at least one hour of quality pro wrestling to watch every week, can't thank you for any of it enough. And to everyone else, who I went to school with, who have been scattered to the far winds, who I've been able to keep in touch with, talk with, not feel like I've lost as a friend. Even if I haven't sat down with them in ages.

And the work -- the work! Every job, every freelance gig I've gotten in the past year, and beyond, has come from Facebook, including my current, semi-regular gig, and as crazy as some of it makes me sometime, I'm glad for that, to have the little bit of income, but more importantly, to have the samples, to be putting in a little work, work I'm able to do with all the other things I have to do. I'll never be the person who says "Being employed makes you a better human being" -- in my case, I think it might actually make me more neurotic, but still. There is something to be said for feeling capable, when a lot of the things you do make you feel lucky to just come up short.

So yeah, it may sound kind of sad to some people to say, but I'm thankful to have this resource. I'm thankful for the wifi. Feel free to call me bourgeois. For this, I'll shoulder that.

Other stupid things... I'm thankful that my hair, as it's grown out, hasn't done that mullet thing. Sure, for now, it looks like I'm shooting to one day rock a Takuya Sugawara-cut, but the honest fact is I'm just glad I haven't had to think about it. Thankful to find all that plaid at Penny's -- your trends are my life. I'm thankful to see "The Walking Dead" on the cover of Entertainment Weekly today -- hopefully, that'll mean I'll have at least a couple seasons of television I actually get excited to watch. I'm thankful Savannah got a chance to get her show, "Huge" on TV, even though it didn't get nearly the life it deserved, because just seeing one of us reach that level of success, that means the world. That's hope. And Savannah getting it proves that some people who have the talent, have the skill, who deserve it, can get that chance. I'm thankful for that.

I said it already, but I'm thankful I got back to working on "New Hooverville" even if it did make me a little crazy. I'm glad I took the time, and dug up the peep show script, thankful a whim turned so quickly into a project. "Nova"... the day the angels fell has become such a big part of my life, and there are nights I don't know what I would have done without the chance to get lost in working on that. And I'm thankful for the people who reached out, or who were receptive when I reached out to them, and took a look at all of it for me -- I'm really thankful for the feedback.

And then there's the important stuff. Our health. I've had less panic attacks this past year than I used to have in a week. Is there more work to be done? Sure, but I'm okay being this okay, at least for right now. And my grandmother's went longer between hospital visits than she has in a long time and, knock on wood, she'll go longer still.

I want to thank those who have been kind to me in the past year, too, including Julia and Hannah [it was so nice to see you guys again], and Julia's family, her mom, her dad, and her sister Anna [her brother too, though just for the one night... busy guy], who put me up in Hull, and let me have one of the best weekends I'd had in... well, a very long time. To Sam, and her parents, Lauri and Ruben, who even after so long still treat me like family. And speaking of families, my friend Ben, who is starting his own, and I am so happy he's starting it with someone like Sarah. I miss you Ben.

While I'm talking about families, I'm so glad Dave and Carrie's wedding went off without a hitch. And I'm so thankful Justin and Staci have each other, especially as they're two people who I think really need each other in some ways, in good ways of course. They're engagement was a surprise, but a pleasant one. For their happiness, I'm thankful. For all my friends' happiness.

Family. You know, it's hard for me, to talk about this. I was really... I was one of those naive kids who bought into this whole togetherness around the holidays thing. And it was hard for me, growing up, seeing things pull apart like they did, through divorce, through people just growing apart, through just the natural isolation-focused mindset of those in my family, to not see those Thanksgivings with loads of people and tons of food, and laughter, and stories, and a slight undercut of annoyance that makes us glad that we have a whole month until Christmas gets here, and we have to do it again. That's not my life, that's not for me, and I don't know if it ever will be. I think the likelihood is pretty slim, especially when you consider how little it matters when it really comes down to one day having a family of your own.

And pity knows if I'll even have that, right?

But it was still difficult. And I think, over time, especially now, especially after college, and giving up the house, and knowing that Thanksgiving wasn't going to be an "event" anymore, and after losing Dad, though I'd be lying if I said I didn't start this before then -- I tried to make this holiday something that didn't matter. Because the honest fact is that if you make something not matter as much, then when it comes it can't let you down.

Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. I hardly thought of it as it came, and as I sat there in Shoney's, eating some weird turkey-gravy combination and listening to my Grandmother and her friend talk about... well, not much at all, I realized I'd more or less succeeded. That this meal could have been anything, anywhere, and even with anyone, and it didn't really matter anymore.

I still felt let down... but this time, not because the holiday hadn't turned out like I wanted it to. It was because I succeeded. Made the day not matter at all. What an accomplishment, eh? What a great thing to be proud of. I was wrong, you know? Better to be let down by falling short of your expectations, than to be let down by achieving them.

Thankful to find that out this year. Maybe I can't fix it. But I can make Christmas count. Or at least try. And maybe next year, nothing will change, but... fuck it. I'll come back here and mope about it. At least then, I'll have known it will matter.

I hate post like these. Feels like amateur hour. But they're important, I think.

Finally, I want to say how thankful I am to everyone who reached out yesterday, who sent texts, who sent me messages on Facebook, @s on Twitter, who just said hello, and "Happy Thanksgiving." That was really appreciated, more than I can begin to describe, and I just want to say thank you. Some of you, it'd even be nice to say a lot more. And I probably will. But here is not the forum.

Back to business as usual soon. I have a small deadline this weekend, 1/4 of a gallon of apple cider, and couple of things coming up at the end of the month.

Best to all.

2 comments:

Adria said...

Great post. Even if your Thanksgiving meal isn't much of an event, it's so important to acknowledge things that matter to you, whether it be Thanksgiving or New Years or just a random day in October :)

Happy Thanksgiving, Randall!

PS: I owe you an email...it's coming I promise.

Randall said...

Thank you. I almost didn't post it... now that a couple people actually read this, I always feel weird about getting personal. And then I do it anyway.

And thank you for the warm wishes, too. I am waiting for that e-mail, but it's not super-pressing. Just really interested in what you think, especially after your first. That really made my morning. Can't thank you enough for even looking.