On Black Friday, I took a trip on the Amtrak Downeaster. If you live in the vicinity of this lovely train, it behooves you to buy a ticket from time to time and ride the rails anywhere south of Wells. Why Wells? Because it’s the last stop in Maine and it’s good to leave Maine occasionally even if you plan to die and be buried in this granite-strewn soil. By taking an occasional trip south, you can say with pride “I may not get far, but I get around.”
I had a pleasant trip and a timely arrival in Haverhill. My friend Stephanie picked me up and we motored to a “Vintage Holiday Bazaar.” We were a few minutes early and so were herded behind some ropes in the entryway until the appointed time. We did get a complimentary ersatz enamel ware mug from China, emblazoned with the logo of the event’s creator. The minute I touched it I was filled with angst. I wish I had had the wherewithal to politely say “I don’t care for ersatz shit, no thank you.”
At the appointed time, we were cut loose to roam the stalls of the bazaar and we made our rounds in less than an hour, so underwhelming were the wares. How many paper cone wreaths do you need? Or non-standard sized cards that will require extra postage to mail? Or little vases with sprigs of greens.
Happily, there was a whoopie pie truck strategically parked outside the bazaar and Steph purchased a couple just in case our energy flagged at some point in the day. Then we motored over to Newburyport and had a tasty lunch at Oregano Pizzeria and Ristorante. It was nice to spend time away from my usual routines and also get caught up with a good friend. After lunch we strolled the streets of the historic seaport. It has become a tourist destination, much like Portland, Maine and I noticed some of the same stores.
As I reflected on my Black Friday experience on my train ride home, three things stood out for me. First, the herds of shoppers were primarily women. Second, there was a lack of quality goods in any of the stalls, bazaars, and shops. Finally, the former were scarfing down the latter, filling bags and bags with the junk.
It made me sad. And I’ve written about that before. On December 18, 2012, I blogged “Melancholy is a normal feeling this time of year. The commercials are loud and it’s hard to think rationally when so many messages tell us to ‘live for today’ and ‘spend, spend, spend.’ There is a Tee Vee image of days and seasons that is hard to shake. It always points to some glorious $99 future; free shipping if you order today. There’s always a suggestion that whatever might have existed in the past isn’t quite good enough for the future.”
Remind to tell you about the time I wrote an essay called “Some people don’t even know they’re eating crap” or something like that.
Until then, click here for my last visit to a Christmas Tree Shop.
Lesson learned and hopefully for the last time.