This is the second year in a row that I have not worked in a store on the day after Thanksgiving. Before that, I worked twenty four straight. That's twenty four Black Fridays. That's twenty four years of working a retail holiday season.
Do I have to tell you that I didn't miss it? That I won't miss working in a store on Christmas Eve, when the fabric of polite customer relations has worn thin and frayed at the edges and the holiday gift desperation is so thick you could cut it with a knife? I don't think I have to tell you.
This year, inside my little post office at the back of the bike store, people are strangely gleeful as they express their "sympathy" for the fact that the next few weeks are going to be "really crazy busy." What is that about? Why are people I don't even know so smugly happy that I will be ridiculously busy trying to assist postal customers with their holiday mailing needs? I can see the smirks, the "glad I'm not you" giggles, that are barely concealed as they inquire about how I'm going to handle it all. "Oh, you know," I say, "one day at a time," and smile angelically before I look over their shoulders and call out, "Next!"
Well, let me say, there are only about three weeks of mailing mayhem to get through before it's too late to get a package to your loved ones in time to tuck it under the tree. Anyone can get through three weeks of being stressed out and busy for eight hours a day. I mean, I was pregnant four times, that's 160 weeks, all together, at forty weeks each time. If I can get through that, especially those last eight weeks every time when it feels like someone is standing on your bladder, (thirty two weeks all together) then I can get through a three week holiday postal season.
And I've done it before-- twenty four years in a row, as I said. I don't see how people waiting to mail packages can be ruder or less cooperative than the guys who got into a fistfight when one of them tried to take cuts in the line while I worked for a well-known retail bookseller. Or the women who had a shouting match in the dressing room over the last black sequined tank top (they both wanted the petite medium.)
In the meantime, today was a gift. Mike and I spent a quiet day together, and we each got a turn to pick what we wanted to watch on TV without someone crying or shouting, "NNNOOOO! This is soooooo booorrring!" We ate leftovers and made turkey sandwiches and had a chance to catch up, like we need to do once in a while. The girls went with their cousins and Uncle Matt and Aunt Sheli to do some Black Friday shopping at the mall, and then to the movies. I know they're already looking forward to next year, and so am I.