November 24, 2006

Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past: When It All Started

And I swear this is where it ends. I'm bored and depressed by all this talk of my worst holiday.

The first Thanksgiving I spent without my parents was when I was a student at Lewis-Clark State College. Like my current situation, I lived too far from my parents to make the trek home for a long weekend. I grew up a 100's of miles away from any extended family, so my small core family of my parents and brother were all I'd ever known for the holidays. Plus, if you're a college student and you've made it to November, isn't it common that homesickness should come along?

My extended family did live in northern Idaho, so it wasn't like I was going to be completely alone. In fact, the plan was that my aunt was going to pick me up on her way from Pasco, Washington, to my grandparents' house in Pierce, Idaho, which was about 90 miles from where I was attending college. I was looking forward to being with my grandparents because it was quiet and peaceful in their tiny little town, but most of the dinner guests who were going to be there were 2nd and 3rd cousins that I didn't know.

So, I had the morning to myself to hang out in the dorm and just relax. There were only a few girls left at the dorm for the holiday weekend--so few that we didn't even see each other. So, on Thanksgiving morning when I went down to the lobby to read the paper and then went up to the shower in the communal bathroom, it truly felt like I was all alone in the dorm. I tried not be a big boob about it, though.

The cafeteria was closed for the holiday, so meals would be whatever I could microwave or toast in the joke of a kitchenette we had. My breakfast that Thanksgiving morning was going to be Pop-Tarts. So, I put them in the toaster and stepped out into the hallway where there was a full-length mirror so I could primp a little. The next thing I knew, flames were shooting out of the toaster--my Pop-Tart had ignited! I ran back into the kitchenette and put out the fire, but the kitchen was full of smoke, so I open the window and hung the toaster out, lest the fire alarm go off. So just picture this chick frantically putting out a toaster fire and then trying to air out the room...and then picture her panic when the FIRE ALARM DOES GO OFF!

It was a handy dandy little thing at our ancient dormitory. When the fire alarm went off, the fire trucks came. And I actually knew this already because a friend of mine burned up the oven the month before while trying to roast pumpkin seeds for my Japanese roommate. Hey, it might have been our pumpkin, but we had nothing to do with the dense girl who tried to "roasted" the seeds unattended on BROIL. Same thing happened there. Fire. Alarm. Fire trucks came.

As the handful of girls and their boyfriend (who weren't suppose to be staying there because it was an all-girls dorm at that time) were evacuating the building into the chilly November morning, they just glared at me and could not see any humor at all. How did they even know it was me? Well, if you were homesick on Thanksgiving and you'd just caused the fire trucks to come because your Pop-Tart went up in flames, wouldn't you bawl hysterically, too?

Luckily the weekend didn't get any worse than that moment, but it wasn't the best either. I had to work the day after Thanksgiving at my sucky seasonal job at Shop-ko and the only thing that was good about it was that it also happened to be payday. Unfortunately, after my eternal shift when I went to cash my check at the bank, I locked my keys in my car. I did have an extra set in my room, so I walked up the hill a mile to retrieve them--that is if I could find an RA to let me into my room. Unfortunately, the main door to the dorm was locked since most of the girls were gone, and nobody would come when I knocked, and knocked, and knocked. I went to the campus security office, but nobody was there despite the fact that someone was on duty somewhere on campus.

And if you think I took that calmly, you just don't know me. It was getting dark and cold. I was trapped outside. I just wanted a bubble bath. It was hours before I was able to let Calgon take me away, too.

Since that weekend it seems like the dark clouds that formed in the sky that bleak afternoon have followed me for every Thanksgiving since. Am I being a dramatic? Perhaps. But I'm entitled. I made the freakin' fire trucks come because I couldn't make Pop-Tarts. That's something you can never live down.

(By the way, I only eat granola bars now.)

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