I’m not going to lie. It sucks to be back working today after all of those days off. Even though I spent days shopping for, prepping, cooking and serving Thanksgiving dinner, and that is in fact “work”, it’s so different than the nine-to-five kind. There is just something so satisfying about making a meal for friends and family, even if my mashed potatoes were too wet and my turkey too dry.
I think a big part of the Thanksgiving allure is the non-cyber nature of it all: making a big meal, spending time with people you love, it’s all so tangible and real and devoid of computers and iphones and Facebook. Other than my world-wide-web-window shopping trip on Friday, and Instagramming my cats, I spent the long weekend as low-tech as possible, catching a fantastic documentary on the Rolling Stones, “Crossfire Hurricane” on HBO, and reading actual books and magazines.
But then I happened to catch the end of a radio report about Black Friday mayhem that struck many retailers, prompting me to check out video footage posted on the Huffington Post (man pulls gun on line-cutter at Sears) and Gawker (near-rioting crowds at various Walmarts).
When you shine a light on the such awful behavior caused by consumerism, it’s just depressing (not to mention dangerous.) I guess it’s no different than bars offering 2-for-1 drinks and society being shocked when people get loaded and hit things and people with their cars. At least no one can get hurt in a Cyber Stampede.
Perhaps my introspection was inspired by a book I’ve been reading, “Lessons from Madame Chic, 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris,” in honor of Jslow who is there for the first time. It’s a sweet little work written by Jennifer L. Scott who’s blog The Daily Connoisseur explores the fine art of living, which she learned during her stays with “Madame Chic” and “Madame Bohemienne.” I remember returning home from Paris many years ago and wanting to replicate the quality, class and beauty of what I observed there, only to return to fast food and sweat pants within months. It’ didn’t take.
Thankfully, over the past few years, I’ve been gradually gravitating to that Parisian way of life by pruning my overgrown closet to only the sartorial flowers (although “weeds” still persist), foregoing processed food for scratch meals made from only fresh and organic everything, and walking everywhere. I still have a long way to go, but at this ripe old age of fufufucoughcoughcoughlclearthroatcoughfufufufifty I feel better than I ever have.
This book expertly outlines how to live a life steeped in quality over quantity, slow over fast, understated over over-everything. Which is why those videos made me gasp, and why I’ve felt guilty for hyperventilating over the insane sales on things I truly don’t need, but will buy anyway. The thing is, I know this will pass in like a day. But I’d give anything to be Jslow right now, floating around Paris shopping on rue Saint-Honore, sipping wine and breakfasting on croissants, suspended from reality instead of reading about it in a book. Maybe a cyber Monday trip to Colette will help. But first I must get back to work.