While the bright sun is an autistic sensory issue for me, once we’re firmly into autumn and the temperatures start hitting 50°F, I do need clear skies to be comfortable, and this afternoon that’s what Portland at just the right time to hit up one of the two neighborhood coffeeshops open at all today, so I got to go sit outside in the sun and read over a latte on a perfect sort of autumn day that also happened to be Thanksgiving.
My first Thanksgiving in Portland a suitably group affair in 1997, featured my having stepped on a carpet tack in the morning, yielding a post-dinner group trip to the emergency room to get a tetanus shot. To my recollection, there haven’t been any such accidents or mishaps in the years since.
Once I started taking my Thanksgivings alone, for years it was a package from Zupan’s, then a switch to Elephant’s Delicatessen, then one year when for a change of pace I ordered a Ukrainian feast all the way from Veselka. Since then, I’ve ordered from the nearer-at-hand New Seasons in the next neighborhood over.
For previous generations, and I think this included my childhood household, the pop culture component of Thanksgiving tended toward listening to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, either on vinyl or by tuning into public radio. For my particular generation, or rather for a particular one-time fandom of mine within it, this is supplanted by “Pangs”, the quasi-problematic/quasi-“woke” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer penned by Jane Espenson.
In other words, come the fourth Thursday of November we do not, per se, celebrate Thanksgiving so much as we do Pangsgiving. According to my Twitter archive, I’ve been marking the day this way at least since 2009, the earliest year I could find me making any reference to it, although I don’t appear to have realized the name for the day existed until 2013.
In the years since, I’ve added to my Pangsgiving lineup, beginning in 2010 with WKRP‘s “Turkeys Away”, arguably the single best sitcom episode ever, followed in 2012 by adding The West Wing episodes “Shibboleth” and “The Indians in the Lobby”—the latter of which includes Jed Barlet’s call into the Butterball Hotline. I own all of these episodes on Amazon, so I don’t have to scramble to find them. Two or three years ago, I added The Humans, a family drama told through the pacing and tropes of horror. I’m still mulling giving that a rewatch today, as it’s now available on Kanopy.
At any rate, since I’d recently switched my largest meal of the day to lunch in order to continue getting in my daily walk after that meal, my Thanksgiving dinner-for-one from New Seasons was had early this afternoon, followed by a dessert of Key Lime Pie Gelato from Talenti. The walk served an intermission between “Pangs” and “Shibboleth”, which as of this writing I’m about to start.
As always, while I’m no longer going all-in on the expense of anyone’s “serves 4 to 6” meals, I did get two of the single-serving dinners to play the role of tomorrow’s “leftovers”.
It’s unfortunate that in order to make all of this work this year I’ve had to bypass my weekly sanity breakfast out not just this week but next week, but at least, barring anything in the hours still to come, the day itself seems to have played out as a sufficient balance, leaving little left but making some coffee and stowing the laptop to make way for the impatient cat.