Thanksgiving in England

Last week was weird. It was my first Thanksgiving week out of the US. Usually on Wednesday things start to shut down, and everyone scrambles to get to the grocery store, grabbing items before they disappear. Or, if they’re like the majority of people who have to travel, they dash to the airport, or hit the road to try and beat the worst of the traffic.

Last Wednesday, instead of getting ready for the big meal, C. and I trekked over to Camden (in London) to see a show at the Electric Ballroom. We’d purchased tickets back in September for The Tallest Man on Earth, and it just so happened that The Drums played the next night, on Thanksgiving. I figured we wouldn’t be doing the traditional thing, especially since everyone would be at work, so I got a ticket to The Drums.

I was a little concerned that I’d feel self-conscious and old, as I rarely go to shows anymore and The Drums were bound to have a pretty big trendy teenager contingent. I soon spotted a woman with silver hair, though, who looked to be in her sixties. Ah, she must be a chaperone, I thought, and felt certain that one of the giggling girls nearby was hers. Later, though, on the Northern Line headed south, I saw her again and it appeared that she was just out with her friend.

It also happened that I’d been a bit obsessed about the recent tragedy (stampede) in Cambodia, and during the solo show, which was packed and in a fairly large venue, I started thinking about how I would exit if people started to flee. The opening band had only just left, so I had about forty-five minutes to think about this. Ample time to decide that the best strategy from where I was standing would be to get to a wall as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I was standing right in the middle, so this would take some doing. How to avoid getting knocked over? I thought about those What to Do If… books that detail what to do if you’re getting eaten by a hippopatamus, etc., and sort of wished that I had read something about stampede death prevention before this evening. I recalled moving in horse stance in martial arts classes, and thought that would also be a good strategy to employ. Try to stay grounded. I ran through a few mental trial runs, trying to keep as much distance as possible between me and the rapidly encroaching crowd as I backed out of the auditorium. I also realized that since I was obsessing about the stampede, I just might be too old to attend big trendy shows, even though my hair hasn’t all turned to silver. Hmmm, wonder if they get Lawrence Welk on UK cable….

The show was great, though, Jonathan Pierce a blond skater cartoon with skinny jeans–completely over the top. I needed something outrageous to keep my mood up. After the show, I grabbed some chicken and rice from a late-night street vendor and ate it on the way back to the Tube. I was grateful for a lot of things, but a bit bummed to not be having a Thanksgiving dinner.

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