Monthly Archives: November 2014

Black Friday and Warm Feet

My soul is still intact. I do not feel like a lesser being. As a matter of fact, I have a good feeling today. It’s Saturday morning. The morning after Black Friday. I feel comfortable inside. Happy.

And I did shop on Black Friday. Wow. I should be burning in the flames of consumerism. But I am not.

Perhaps it was because I shopped after 8:30 a.m. Perhaps it was because I do boycott Walmart and some of the other Big Bad Boxes. Maybe it was because Portland people are less intense, which I doubt. But I was out three times yesterday. Two times I shopped. One time was a post office trip. And it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t experience any feeding frenzy. I have all my fingers. No one shoved me, ran over me, stole my i.d., bullied me out of a parking spot, or subjected me to any of the indignities the news stations love to show. All in all, people were nice.

My first trip started with a brief stop at Freddies. I picked up a couple things that I otherwise would not have been able to get. Parking was easy. I did avoid the electronics. I can do electronics online through NewEgg. Granted I had a shopping cart, but as I maneuvered it past the other shoppers, especially the sock-table shoppers, I said excuse me and thank-you, as did other shoppers. We even smiled at each other and said, “Hi”. We weren’t horrible, rabid animals fighting over crumbs.

While I shopped, I didn’t feel tainted. And as I checked out a few of the specialty sales, I mulled over the anti-shopping hype.

Folks, it is not logical for people to wait and pay full price for socks when they can get them at half-price. In this part of the world, good socks are a necessity, not a luxury. Bare feet in rain boots or hiking shoes get cold. If you want to feel smug and superior for not shopping on Black Friday, that’s your thing. Maybe you don’t wear socks. Maybe you run everywhere barefoot. But don’t tell me not to go out and buy socks. That’s just mean. If you have a burning need to lift yourself above the biomass, buy some socks at half price and give them to the homeless people gracing our streets. It’s better to give people socks then to give people flack for Black Friday sock shopping.

Onward.

Leaving Freddies, I didn’t feel any black spots on my soul. Nor did I see any other shoppers who were obviously tainted. So I continued to my next stop, Costco. This was the second reason I went out to brave the crowds. My son wanted a Costco membership for Christmas. Having just spent Thanksgiving Day with the kids, I know how tight it is for them. So I decided to get the membership Friday – Black Friday was my first chance to get it – and send it to them early. Not your usual Black Friday trip, I know. But here I was continuing my morning journey on the day superior people love to hate.

When there, I picked up the gift card, cruised the aisles, and headed to the check-out. It was still mellow. All the Costco cashiers were happy. It’s a great place to work. Kudos to Costco. From here I headed home.

This leads in to my second outing. I came home for a quick breakfast and then headed to the post office to put the card in priority mail. The kids will have it by Monday. Wow. There were two other people on the customer side of the counter. Guess it was busy earlier. Guess it would be busy later. But for that bit of time, the post office was empty and peaceful.

After my quick trip, I headed home again. Hubby and I chatted a bit, did some correspondence, made a list, and we went out to Dave’s Bread, Morrow Brothers, and a second cruise through Freddies.

For those who don’t know, Dave’s Bread is organic and very tasty. It’s our go-to bread. And the outlet store for Dave’s Bread is right across from Bob’s Red Mill. We PDXers are so lucky on so many levels. Now let me clarify, I was out shopping on Black Friday for bread from Dave’s and produce from Morrow Brothers. And by the way, Morrow Brothers had a new, to me, apple called Sweetie. I picked up a couple to enhance our fruit salad. FYI. Neither store had any Black Friday specials. I didn’t expect any. I was happy with our score.

If by now you’ve noticed a theme for this third trip, that’s good. Sometimes when people go out on Black Friday, it is for basic shopping. So get off your high-horse. Up there, you are looking down on people, not at them. I believe it is important to look at a person. To see without judging.

But our journey was not over. We needed t.p., kitty food, milk, and a few other sundries. Since Freddies was on our way back to our house, we pulled in again. Nope. None of the grocery items were on sale. Didn’t expect them to be. But I did split off from my Hubby and picked up a couple more otherwise-not-able-to-afford items. Plus more socks. It just doesn’t make sense to wait one day so I can pay full price. That is not logical. So I guess I could feel smug for not shopping on Black Friday, or I could be logical.

We finished our shopping with a final stop at Grocery Outlet. Neither one of us expected any SALES!, but it is part of our SE PDX shopping loop. Right now, hubby is fixing some breakfast pancakes from the gluten-free, organic pancake mix we picked up at GO. Mmmmm. I can smell them.

After GO, we were finally home, and I was finished with my outings. I checked out my soul, spirit, self-esteem, ego, the invisible part of me that connects me to family, friends, earth, and the universe. Everything was still good.

Today, I feel a lightness of being. Warmth seeps into me from my toes and flows up to the top of my head. Maybe it’s because I bought socks.

The Sadness Filled My Soul

She was my friend. She was one of the few people in a local group who believed I had talent and encouraged me to write and draw. She wanted me to illustrate one of her stories. But that never happened. Susan Petrey died on December 5, 1980.

I was in Europe at the time, traveling through the British Isles and then on to the Continent. Although I had contact with people back home, I did not know about her death. Later, after I returned to Portland, I was told they took a vote and decided not to tell me Susan had died. They did not want it to ruin my trip.

Wow.

In Ireland I met the wonderful and gracious writer Anne McCaffrey. I was so pumped with Susan’s writing and our friendship, I chattered about her stories and how Susan was going to write so many more.

Now, news of a writer’s death in the F and SF world travels. I expect Anne knew about Susan’s death, but she did not say a word. Not wanting to ruin my trip? I don’t think so. Perhaps she thought I was in denial, ignorant, or just plain callous.

I continued on my holiday through Britain and across the channel. The head of BBC Scotland gave me a private tour through the studios, a sweet Swiss gentleman bought me a metro ticket and kissed my hand as I boarded the car, and I met my good friend Robin at the Youth Hostel in Den Hague. I was oblivious to the sadness that awaited me on my return.

But I did return, and on being told of Susan’s death, I was stunned into silence. Perhaps my apparent lack of response was taken for agreement that I should not have been told or indifference to Susan’s death. But it is the response I have when I am so overwhelmed by a lack of understanding that I cannot get any words out of my mouth. I was frozen in place. I should have been told.

My friend, Susan, was manic-depressive or what is now called bipolar. She took meds. Often when she was in a depressive mood, she would give me a call and ask to come over to my apartment. The meds flipped a switch and she became manic. She would come with her bottle of Scotch and talk and rock and talk and rock and take a sip of Scotch. There was no getting the bottle away from her and she knew she needed watching.

So I would sit with her and listen as she told her stories, the whole time making sure she never had too much Scotch or too many meds. Susan would rock and rock and rock. We’d talk about our joys and sorrows – regrets and dreams. She was my best friend. She is gone and I still feel the emptiness.