By Kenneth Justice
“Where have you been Kenneth?” was the first question out of my friend’s mouth when I stopped at the coffee house this morning.
The short answer is that I’ve been sick for the better part of a week; no blog articles, no coffee (only tea for my very sore throat), and stuck in bed for more hours than I care to remember.
It didn’t help my body, that in the midst of being sick it was also Thanksgiving week here in the United States. Not only did I have all of the festivities surrounding this strange holiday, I also made the poor decision of going out on Thursday and standing in the cold to see what deals I could get at Target.
I had spent the better part of two weeks looking at all of the Black Friday (actually Black Thursday) deals that the various retailers would be offering; since I was in the game for buying certain electronic gadgets it was actually Target that was offering the best deal; $100 gift certificates for every gadget I purchased.
So there I was standing in line on Thursday at 5PM in 25 degree weather. I was the seventieth person in line, and while that may have seemed far back; when you consider the fact that there were nearly 700 people behind me, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of getting what I was there to buy.
There’s a weird social comradery that occurs when you stand in the cold with a bunch of stranger; everybody was talking to me. It’s a weird experience since so much of the time strangers ignore each other. The mother and three teenage daughters in front of me were there hoping to buy $500 televisions for only $120, the three computer nerds behind me were hoping to purchase a 60 inch television for $119, the twenty-ish college girl in front of me was hoping to score an Apple I-pad. And while the first ten minutes or so were people talking about what they were hoping to purchase, the conversation soon shifted to people’s lives;
—-) One girl recently broke up with her boyfriend of four years and this would be her first holiday alone
—-) A grandmother was there with her daughter and grandchildren; black Friday has been a holiday tradition they share together for the past twenty years
—-) A guy and girl behind me were clearly into each other but they weren’t officially dating; this experience was for them a bonding experience to help move their relationship to the next level
Humans are strange creatures. We line up in front of a big box store on Thanksgiving at 5PM in the cold. None of us were dressed for such cold weather, usually the temperatures are in the high forties, so most of us were only wearing hoodies and sweatshirts. Thus, for the better part of an hour people were jumping up and down, blowing on their hands, and cuddling close together to stay warm…….all for a few bucks off a couple purchases or for a gift certificate.
Actually, it really wasn’t for the electronics or the deals that we were there. It was because for the hour that we all stood in line, we were connected. We shared an experience with each other, and even if none of us ever see each other again, it is an experience we will all remember.
Sometimes you have to stand in line out in the cold to remember all the things we’ve lost in society.
(Still no coffee for me as my throat is burning like crazy)
Categories: Culture & Society