1) I started out on a bus from Port Authority, NYC to Wilkes-Barre, Pa on Wednesday. My dad or mom was, theoretically, to pick me up at the bus station and take me to Trucksville, Pa. The bus was packed, so I ended up squished in that awful very-back seat between a man who smelled like I should introduce him to the concept of bathing and a woman who smelled like cheese. She was also devouring blue cheese like she was about to be forced into hibernation for the next 5 years. The realization that I was the meat in a blue cheese-body odor sandwich for the duration of a 3 hour bus ride started to Thanksgivafy me. I considered hopping off the bus and catching the next one, but the unattractive notion of waiting around in Port Authority paralyzed me. My mind started telling myself that this is exactly why I need a car in NYC, but there’s no parking and there’s too many people and I hate people and all the rats and it’s not worth it and I could punch these people who are suffocating me with cheese and body odor and I need to move somewhere else where buffaloes still roam the rolling plains and there’s no people and just buffaloes who wear deodorant who don’t take buses…Ohhhhhhh, Noooooo! See? My mind was already Thanksgivified. And until I took three inhalations with my albuterol inhaler, my lungs were also Thanksgivafied.
2) Next the angry bus driver simultaneously gave us a speech about Martz Trailways’ cellphone policy while whipping the motorized beast around the curvy roads outside Lincoln Tunnel, causing the elderly and children holding on to dear life in the aisle seats to tumble to the floor. I didn’t tumble because Blue Cheese and BO had me locked in, though I did experience a slight case of vertigo. The angry bus driver continued ordering us that we are not to use our cellphones, because it disturbs travelers ( Mainly him) and if we choose to use our cellphones, basically he’ll kill us. It seems he was Thanksgivified.
3) An hour outside of Wilkes Barre, I was able to move into an empty seat, as the bus unloaded a bunch of people at the Delaware Water Gap. I sat in front of a snoozing college couple. Thank God they were sleeping, because the only thing worse than people is talking people. As Thanksgiving would have it, they started talking thirty minutes later so, naturally, I started eavesdropping. I picked up that he was a local bringing his college sweetheart home for Thanksgiving. As we passed national landmarks, like the Steamtown Mall in Scranton,Murphy’s Irish Pub and houses that have been condemned by the Health Department, he spouted off a description of the area that turned NorthEast Pa into Utopia. And with every “Oooh, Ahhhh…,” and flirtatious giggle, I could tell she was buying it. I wanted to whip around and enlighten the blue collar bluebirds that the area has the highest unemployment rate in the state, people are getting high on bath salts and stabbing priests…, most towns, like Trucksville, never get specified on national maps and Scranton only started making maps after The Office. But then I thought better of it, because I realized my eavesdropping was Thanksgivafied.
4) When the bus pulled in to the Wilkes Barre station, I called my parents on their house phone and when no one answered, on their 2 cellphones. No one answered, which takes me back to them “theoretically” picking me up. Great… ,my mind started, you’re here, they aren’t answering the phones, but they never answer their phones so you can’t claim their non-answering of the phones is a manifestation of Thanksgivafication…, just calm down, try not to get mugged and call again. I glanced around the station, which looked like a slipshod derelict nation, so I drug my bags over to Barnes and Noble across the street. I would try to un-Thanksgivafy myself with books and coffee.
5) I bought a coffee at the book store, sat down at a table and started reading, “The Status Syndrome,” the gist of which makes you hate rich people. Especially when you’re feeling abandoned and Thanksgivafied. Reminding myself that I was only there because I wasn’t being picked up for Thanksgiving, I called my parents again. No answer, so I called my dad at work. He’s usually at work since he’s a busy veterinarian. He told me he had 2 dogs, an iguana and a rabbit before me and asked if I got a hold of mom. I said, “No,” so he told me he’d come pick me up within the hour. I agreed, knowing full well that “within the hour” in my family could mean “within 72 hours.”
6) The guy at the table across from me started talking on his cell phone to a woman named, “Debbie.” “No, Debbie, no… I will not go with you today…I told you I would go with you yesterday, but I’m not going with you today…I have conditions too, Debbie, you never ask me about my conditions…Okay, okay, then how many conditions do I have, Debbie?… Listen, Debbie, we’re friends, okay, but I’m not going today. It’s okay, Debbie, it’s okay, you’re my friend, but I’m not doing this to myself…Tomorrow is going to be very difficult for me too, Debbie…, listen, Debbie…. Okay, fine…., then, we’re not friends.” Ahhh- The Thanksgivification of a borderline-bipolar love affair.
7) My phone rings. It’s a number I don’t recognize. I go to answer it, but accidentally hang up on the unknown caller. They leave a message. I check the message. It’s the bus station saying my dad is at the station. I grab my book and bags and sprint back across the street to the bus station. I’m out of breath and don’t see my dad’s car. Maybe the derelicts ate him. Phone rings again. It’s my mother with an uncharacteristic breach from her typical avoidance of all ringing phones. MOM: “Erin, where is your father?” ME: “I don’t know, Mom.” MOM: “He’s at the bus station looking for you!” ME: “Then why did you ask me where he was?” MOM: “You better find him, Erin, he’s on his way home.” ME: “He’s not answering his cellphone.” MOM:”He doesn’t have a phone with him.” ME: “So, um, how am I supposed to get a hold of him? You want me to try to recruit one of the pigeons from public square?” I hang up the phone and sprint back out to the street, hoping my dad turns down it. A minute passes, when I spot the hunter green jeep slowly making its way down the street. I decide to be smart and stand in the middle of the street to wave down my dad. He doesn’t see me. Dad…Dad…. DAD!!! It’s ME, your daughter!! Stop, Dad…, Slow the car, Dad…, don’t hit me, Dad! Wait…, Dad, are you awake??
Luckily he stops. He doesn’t recognize me for a few seconds but then, lucky for me, he recognizes me. “I almost missed you!” He blurts while shaking his head. Actually, you almost hit me, but perhaps I’m just Thanksgivifying the moment.
8) I finally make it home and eat hummus my mom purchased from Wegmans. Wegmans’ homemade hummus is my very favorite in the whole world, and I never get it in NYC. After I’m done eating hummus my mom starts asking me about life, jobs, romance and how I should do everything her way or I will end up alone, homeless and sweeping floors at McDonald’s. Essentially, the same speech she’s given me since I was born. She’s quite the Thanksgivafier. At this point, a strong urge for red wine overtakes me. Ah, yes, of course: The Thanksgivafication of maladaptive coping mechanisms.
9) I go to the gym and spend 2 and a half hours there, so I can eat my Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I call this the Thanksgivafication of recovering eating disorders. I take a Zumba class and a Spinning class. Both have been Thanksgivafied. Both teachers announce that the playlist will have a Thanksgiving theme. Great, I think…, nothing like shaking my hips to tunes about smallpox and genocide. I end with Yoga class. The teacher claims it has a Thanksgiving theme too. “Oh, c’mon,” I say to myself. “What does THAT mean? This is YOGA class!! We are thankful for being thankful for being thankful and we have gratitude times gratitude times gratitude, we’re so thankful we are going to explode of thankfulness?” I hide out in a Thanksgivafied child’s pose.
10) Later that night I start reading Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. Mom: “Erin, what are you reading?” Me: “Bowling Alone- about the collapse of the American Community.” Mom: “You are too much of a recluse, Erin. Why not put the book down and find two people to go bowling with?” Me: “No. I hate bowling. Bowling is stupid.” Mom: “Bowling is fun. I used to bowl in Ashley every Friday night.” Ahh, the Thanksgivafication of my voluntary hermit status.