First remote Thanksgiving, or, my week on Marion St.

I celebrated this Thanksgiving in Boston, away from my family for…I think, the first time ever. Blame a lack of priorities or planning or pretty much anything else, but the end result is about the same. For some reason the major holidays, rather than being times of joy and togetherness, have always just kind of bummed me out. Several of the major ones are concentrated toward the dark, wintery part of the year; maybe that is a contributing factor. Historically, my family has either (depending on which side you’re talking about) gone nuts obsessing over them, or kind of written them off as one of those annoying things people do from time to time.

Of my two best friends in Boston, one was on vacation for the week and the other was/is barely speaking to me, for reasons I still don’t comprehend. I tend to have a small number of close, true friends, and would much rather have this than a hundred people I only barely know, who would just as soon stab me in the back as speak to me if they thought it would get them a bit ahead in life. But not since my move to Boston has it really hit home how tenuous that scenario really is – how great and awful an impact on my life it would be, socially and otherwise, if something happened suddenly to even just a few key people. And as much as my species for the most part just tends to piss me off, it is inexplicably comforting to have other trusted people around sometimes. I tend to be extremely self-sufficient, tending not to need or seek help or advice from others…still, it’s sobering when you realize how close you are to having no one left to turn to if you ever needed to.

Anyway, my boss* invited me to Thanksgiving dinner with his family and some of their neighbors. I know, that probably sounds totally lame, but it was awesome. There was so much food, and it was terrific…the conversation was polite and civil, their kids were adorable, no yelling, insulting, crude sex talk and innuendos at the table**, cigarette smoke, nobody threw the turkey… Funny how sometimes the significance of something is carried on the backs of such little things, like the way people interacted with one another…positive energy, if such a thing can be measured.

After dinner (and probably too much red wine), I fell almost immediately into a nap (last time I did that, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience, but I’m not sure if I should document it) ’til about 1am, then tried to actually go to sleep and failed, and ended up talking to my brother online ’til about 5-something AM. Eventually went to bed/sleep, and not an hour later, about 6:20 AM I’m woken up by every smoke alarm in the house going off. If there’s one thing I associate with smoke alarms, it’s false alarms, so I dragged myself out of bed (clothes still on) and came out of my room to find and kill it. My mood kind of changed a little bit when I smelled the smoke drifting through the house, reeking of burning paper and oil. Then it was a beeline for the front door, or at least close enough to it to verify an unobstructed exit, then through the house looking for the fire. No fire per se, just a lot of stinky smoke… By this time my housemate Jay was awake and out of his room, the heating was shut off and I was relieved about not having to make an emergency gerbil-rescue run back upstairs***, and our landlord would be out that morning to look at the boiler (apparently, boilers get unhappy very quickly when they run out of water and the auto-shutoff mechanism fails). Needless to say though, not much more sleeping happened that morning.

I spent the Wednesday before, and indeed, most of the holiday weekend, with my buddy GJM just a few doors down from there. Between various home-improvement projects (me, being a stereotypical male? Hey…power tools rock. Besides, I might actually have a house / wife / etc. some day, and need to know this stuff :-) , nearly getting into a fistfight with a staff member at Lowe’s Home Improvement****, traipsing around the local northeast chasing a bunch of train nuts (to be documented), amateur plumbing and some tree transplanting (CM is awesome too, in the uncannily comfortable way), we got that whole quality-time thing licked (not to mention most of the Captain Morgan bottle. Probably not the best idea in conjunction with power tools, electric saws and fire [with or without meat cooking over it], but we still have all our fingers).

* it almost feels funny referring to an actually cool person as my boss, because that’s always struck me as being sort of a dirty word. Truth be told he isn’t very boss-like, at least in the stereotypical short dic(k)tator sense of the word.
** not that I have a problem usually with that…hell, I can be a real perv sometimes myself. But a family dinner gathering maybe isn’t the best place for it.
*** any firefighter will howl at you to NEVER NEVER even consider going back for something, but I know a few people who would all but kill me for not considering it, too.
**** more accurately, GJM nearly getting into a fistfight. But if he took a hit, I would have to jump in on principle alone. Good friends are hard to come by…and harder to keep.

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