Stuff Sick

Now that I am in the very throes of Autumn in London people have started to ask me if I’m homesick at all, if I miss where I came from. My first instinct, of course, is to look at them as if they have suddenly grown another head because we are standing in London when they ask me this. What is there to miss when you’re in the greatest city in the world?

But anytime you do something different and new there are always going to be things about what was old and the same that you do think might be nice to have from time to time. When I actually stopped to think about these things, for me, it really amounts to stuff. I miss the crap that wouldn’t fit in the suitcase. Not enough to fly home and get it. Or to even try to find a reasonable facsimile here, just enough for an “Aw, shucks” moment.

I’m in wild, passionate love with London and have no desire to be anywhere else, but these are the little things I kind of wish were here with me:

1. Mac and Cheese.

2. Driving. Not that I want to drive or park a car here, but the efficiency of tube, bus and feet will never be as much fun as driving.

3. In-N-Out burger and other food that is both delicious and genuinely cheap (damn you currency conversion)

burger

4. Mexican food. Made by Mexican people.

5. My jewelry box, and its contents, but mostly the box.

6. Having a living room. With a TV.

7.  My mommy (only sometimes) Umm, I mean, the beach, yeah, the beach is cool.

8. That one dress that I didn’t think I would need but would be totally perfect for this thing and is now uselessly sitting in a box 8,000 miles away.

9. Cake. And pie. And cookies. Brits think they know how to make these, but they are wrong.

10. Target. And really just the concept of going to one store to get all of your essentials. But, exercise is good, too, I hear.

Of course there are things that would make life just a bit more perfect, but that would be true no matter where I am. Also, I may or may not have chosen a few boxes of Mac and Cheese instead of that dress when it came to packing my suitcase, and that’s a decision I may or may not have to live with. And I can bake my own cookies and steal cars if I need to.

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Black Fri Lady

Yes, I’m aware the wordplay does not completely work. But the sentiment stands true. There is nothing ladylike about elbowing your way to an eighteen dollar sweater at five in the morning. There is no reason to pay more for something than you have to, but the value of your time and character also have to be accounted for. The spirit of gift-giving is to think about the people in your life you want to show appreciation to and what it is in your power to give them that they might like.

The spirit is not to dive in to the dollar bin grabbing everything within reach, only to decide later which unfortunate cousin is going to get a battered copy of Die Hard, and who gets the stuffed reindeer with the jingle hat. Shopping on Black Friday is not relaxing, so you can’t even claim retail therapy.

vintage.sale_.lady_

The only ladylike way to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the day after you have dedicated a whole uninterrupted twenty four hours to connecting with friends and family whilst consuming twice your body weight) is online. There are some incredible sales, that no reasonable person can expect you to ignore, but the pursuit of a bargain should not take over your brief respite from work and other distractions. Pick a time to commit yourself to the pursuit of a reasonably priced coat, or set a cellphone alarm for that Amazon lightning deal you just can’t miss, but limit it to an hour or two. Then read a book, curl up and watch a movie, or even take a walk with your aunt or other relative you don’t get to see very often.

As we get older, and advertising agencies get evermore overeager during the holiday season, we seem to forget that celebrating is meant to be about spending time and making memories with those we love. Whether it’s taking the time to tell one another what you’re thankful for, or making sure gifts are both thoughtful and personal, make sure you take full advantage of your time away from the obligations of work to play a little bit.

If your idea of play happens to include a quick tirade through Target with your mom, then so be it.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Hanukkah!