I am poised on the brink of my FOURTH Thanksgiving in Hong Kong S.A.R. and still trying to work out what it is that makes me pine for this holiday over and above most others. It could be that it is the start of the “Season,” or that it seems to bring with it, no matter where you are, a distinct and significant change in the weather. [Even here at 22° N it smells of that husky, smoky fall air and darkness is sneaking up on us before 6pm…] I tell my students, most of whom do not celebrate Thanksgiving, if they have even heard of it, that it is special because it is a very concentrated holiday – it doesn’t stretch itself out over weeks at a time and so to be con familia at this time signifies a serious effort, which seems cool.
Of course, there is also the food and I am one of those people who can tell an entire life story punctuated by and organized around all things consumed. I miss the food. I miss the family time. I miss the sports. I miss the chronological marker that the final Thursday in November used to be. This is funny because actually, I have more humorously horrifying Thanksgiving stories than I do of the Dickens variety. [I would like to give a shout out to the Tofurkey Project of Bodega Bay and really… what else could hold a candle to that debacle?]
So, I suppose I quit my Thanksgiving habit cold turkey. No easing into this absence. I anticipated missing the one in 2005, but since I only came to Honkers for a year (as you do) the subsequent omissions have been coming as more and more of a forced withdrawal. I suppose that makes one pine for it more. You cannot have it. Therefore, it must be what you want. Always. Want. What. We. Cannot. Have.
Funny thing about giving something up cold turkey… the only things you can ever really quit cold turkey are the things you don’t need to quit. You know? I have given up all kinds of stuff just like that. Like I gave up okra. Just now, in fact. I will never have okra again. What a shame.
It’s those little hangers-on that get you and heat that turkey right back up again. I tried to quit a man cold turkey and let me tell you, I needed to quit him almost as much as he needed to quit doing smack. But you would have thought my very survival depended on staying with him. It was one of the first and only times I think I really ever understood how people could actually do some of the insane shit they do to stay high. I really believed I had to have him.
Funny, I did not recognize the same behavior in him regarding heroin. Probably should have clued into that one a little sooner. He was expert at cold turkey. Work? Done. Money? None. Everyday he was quitting something new. Even quit me.
I had to have an intervention to deal with my addiction to him, and in the end, I went cold turkey too. And it turned out to not be so bad.
Now, like the anachronism that I am, I am going to get ready for bed and wake up tomorrow on Thanksgiving day and go to yoga and then to work and I might get a turkey sandwich for lunch just to say, “Hey, cold turkey isn’t so bad after all.”
In fact, it may just be the best little morsel I’ve had this year.