A nice, quiet, Thanksgiving

“Listen to your own, inner voice” They say. The all-knowing They. But inside my head I hear a screaming sound. It may be a handcuffed pilot watching the plane go down. Or maybe it’s the product of an America so obsessed with individualism and personal liberty that we have forgotten how to connect to community, driven by social media right into isolation, clicking “like” as we forget how to relate in the real world. Or maybe I’m just bored.

I wish I could ask my Burmese monk buddy, despite no common spoken language and betel-stained teeth.

I wish I could ask my Burmese monk buddy, despite no common spoken language and betel-stained teeth.

Whatever it is, that scream is annoying, and insidious.

“I read your blog…” said my new baker buddy.
“What did you think?” I asked, honestly curious.

The pause was expressive. “I don’t want to offend you.” For the second time this week I found myself explaining that as far as I remember, I’ve been offended once, in 2006.

She continued “Well… I like the person I hang out with a lot more than the person who writes that blog. That person is very…” What was the word she used? It could have been “self-obsessed.”
“But when we hang out, you’re not like that at all.”

What’s the opposite of offended? I felt that.

This is a travel blog, but in the absence of travel, I wasn’t sure what to post. Recollections  didn’t get much traction, and a writer I respect advised me to put more of myself in there. “Post all this doubt and uncertainty!” It sounded like a good idea at the time.

"Just relax and enjoy the ride" advises Sri Lankan train kid

“Just relax and enjoy the ride” advises Sri Lankan train kid

She may be right, probably is, but enough is enough. Eventually I’ll figure out (or remember?) how to put more Me into these words without overwhelming them, but today I’m going to take the easy way out, saved by the calendar.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. That makes today the easiest day of the year for an American to spout 500 words. Just choose a top few things you’re thankful for. I have a long list of those, but have already blathered away most of my word count.

Thing I’m Grateful for #1: Family and friends.

My contribution tomorrow.

My contribution tomorrow.

If I list the friends, we’ll be here all day, so I’ll keep that one in my diary, where I’ll read it thrice. But tomorrow I will sit among family, the place I flew 8,000 miles to be. A Thanksgiving day so different from some in the past.

Three of my brothers won’t be there physically, but that’s alright, they’re family, so they’re there, manifested among my sister, parents, and two other brothers (I count sibling’s partners, my family’s not THAT big).

Family doesn’t have to do or say anything, we’ll just hang out for a little while. Eat stuffing. Serve pie. Drink tea. Some of the things that mean “family” to me. Tea…that one has long been a staple of family life, in our somewhat-British household…

That screaming sound? Maybe it’s just the kettle boiling, ready to pour.