It's Alright, Ma, It's Life, And Life Only

When I lived in Connecticut, and also San Diego, and also Charleston, a disturbing number of people would ask me whether we had Thanksgiving in England. And after I had stared at them incredulously for a few seconds to figure out whether or not they were joking (they never were), I would urge them to think about why we didn't have Thanksgiving in England, WHY THAT MIGHT NOT BE LIKELY, and I'd be met, invariably, with a blank stare. And then after some blinking and nervous giggling and a quick think back to their third grade history lessons, they'd give an "oh!" of recognition and we'd laugh together at their momentary stupidity, and then they'd say something like "and do you have roads in England?" and at that point they'd be dead to me forever.

Suffice to say, we don't have Thanksgiving in Singapore either.

What we do have---or rather, what I have---is an American boyfriend, and so certain concessions must, of course, be made towards this national holiday. As such, my mother bought Sean a large slice of pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, which came in a fancy bakery box and which he consumed in front of Oprah (the TV show, not Oprah herself, though wouldn't that be something?) We took him out for lunch as well, but since we went to The American Club---I mean, come on, The American Club, could we have tried any harder?---and there was no turkey to be found, he ended up having a traditional Thanksgiving lunch of nachos and chicken Caesar salad. Next year, I will be recreating this exact meal, and you are all welcome to leave behind your yam-marshmallow thingies and your cranberry sauce, and come and join us for some guacamole and croutons. And none of us will argue about who broke that vase in 1987 or why you don't have a real job or whose turn it is to shovel the snow from the driveway.

The day after Thanksgiving, Sean had an interview for a two-week contract design position. I took the subway with him for moral support and also so we could practice asking each other obscure interview questions while squeezed up against a hundred other people in a long metal tube, you know, to maximise that panicky heart-in-your-throat feeling you get when seated opposite somebody who's asking you why you think you should have this job. (True story: my brother's friend once had an interview with a banking firm and the guy said to him "so, I see on your resume that you---WHAT'S TWELVE TIMES NINE?" just to see how quickly he could think on his feet.)

By riding along with Sean to the interview, I had been attempting to play the Supportive Girlfriend role, but what with the rushed pep talks and the large umbrella under my arm and my bag full of healthy low-sugar snacks and hand-sanitizing wipes, I ended up feeling a bit like his agent or manager, or maybe---worse!---a sort of Mary Poppins figure. And so it was with great relief that I abandoned him at the entrance to the building where he was being interviewed and headed off to some posh shops to spend the money I haven't been making lately.

Do you realize how long it's been since I've been shopping? I mean, proper shopping, in a shop where you can try things on and then pay for them with a credit card, as opposed to a market where you grab a bamboo-weave skirt from a wheelbarrow and then bargain it down to thirty five cents while trying to make yourself heard over the clucking of a cage of live chickens? It's been a long time. And so I was feeling rather pleased with myself, swanning through Zara with a clutch of dresses hanging over one arm, thinking my boyfriend is having a job interview and wearing a suit! I have brushed my hair this morning! I am shopping in a store with flattering mirrors and later I will meet my boyfriend for coffee, and I will be just like a girl in a TV commercial, with my brushed hair and my shopping bags and my boyfriend in a suit!

And then I looked down and saw the enormous bright blue umbrella my mother had made me bring in case of rain, and that kind of harshed on my vibe a little, but worse, WORSE, I realized that my arm was bleeding. Heavily. Blood was trickling down my arm, dangerously close to the pretty dresses I was carrying, and so, thinking on my feet (TWELVE TIMES NINE IS A HUNDRED AND EIGHT!), I threw the dresses down onto a nearby ottoman and scrabbled around in my bag for a tissue. Except then I saw that my bag was covered in ANTS. And these ants were crawling everywhere, darting up and down the straps, and freaking me out just a little while I rooted around inside for a dirty Kleenex with which to sop up the blood that was running down my elbow, probably from one of the 859 mosquito bites I'd absent-mindedly scratched while browsing. (That's my explanation for the bleeding, anyway. I have no explanation for the ants. Unless the Singaporean post office has started putting LSD on the backs of its 50-cent stamps.)

And so having gone, in three seconds, from Breezy Girl In A TV Commercial to Crazy Lady With A Bleeding Arm Whose Bag Is Covered With Ants, I hotfooted it out of the store and spent the next hour and a half waiting in the lobby for Sean, whose interview, incidentally, took an hour and a half longer than it was supposed to.

Although he did get the job. And so the next night, at The Dinner Party Of Awkwardness---wherein my brother's ex-girlfriend was introduced to my brother's current girlfriend, and my brother was introduced to his ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend, who looked a lot like Prince William, and, come to think of it, it was actually more like The Dinner Party Of Awesomeness---Sean and I both had actual true things to say in response to the question "and what are you doing out in Singapore?", things like "I'm designing the graphics for a board game!" and "I'm writing the script for a TV commercial!" and so, for once, we didn't feel like purposeless slackers with excellent tans.

Which is, of course, kind of what we still are. Only we don't even have the tans anymore at this point. They've faded by now and the sun hasn't come out for ages.

1
Ursula
Nov 28, 2006

Holly, but what is the commercial for?

Ant repellent?

2
elise
Nov 28, 2006

You've just perfectly summed the feelings of so many girls walking through specific situations and imagining ourselves to be sexy Bond girls, or ass-kicking business women, or down-to-earth-but-still-somehow-stunning hippies.

And then, three seconds later, we catch a second glimpse and we're all covered in some sort of ant-y mess. Every time. Brilliant.

3
Kyran, Notes to Self
Nov 28, 2006

Festival of Awesomeness indeed. Looking through your flickr set is like looking at the peep show of freakishly beautiful people. How can you resist bringing the Prince William lookalike back to America and having one over on everybody? I will chip in.

4
gina in sc
Nov 28, 2006

OMG i about peed in my pants. i can see you now , strolling through that store all cool-like, then being a freak out mess two minutes later. i could be that girl any day of the week!! lol.

5
jes
Nov 28, 2006

You should know that I multiplied 12 x 9 in my head, just to see how quickly I could think on my feet. And then I checked my calculator, just to be sure.

And I was wrong.

6
jes
Nov 28, 2006

OMG, Am I unbelievably gullible, or are you really writing the script for a TV commercial?

Also, word to the wise: Roger designed one of the board games for Milton Bradley, and now we have about fourteen pristine boxes of that same game. BE PREPARED TO STOP AND BUY A COPY OF THAT GAME EVERYTIME YOU VISIT TARGET.

7
Sarah Marie
Nov 28, 2006

I hate ants! Especially the fire ants of the southeast US. Some of the anthills are so large I fear for small animals in the backyard.

8
Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 28, 2006

No, I am really writing the script for a TV commercial. In fact, I am up at midnight hyperventilating over it as we speak. You will all totally have to buy what I'm selling.

9
Sean's mom
Nov 28, 2006

Holly - you can always have Thanksgiving dinner with us, we don't have thos yams with marshmallows - too sweet. And you will have the great pleasure of watching Sean, his dad and his brother devour the pumpkin pies. Sadie and Charlie enjoyed their turkey this year. They enjoy everything so much so that I don't think they want to leave.

10
s@bd
Nov 28, 2006

don't you just love americans? (i can say that, i'm canadian and we have thanksgiving, too. but at a more reasonable time of the year.)

11
JB
Nov 28, 2006

Mmm... pumpkin cheesecake...

12
Tia
Nov 28, 2006

Is this a commercial that will be aired in the States? And is it for something we would actually want to buy no matter what, or is it something that we will only buy because the commercial you write will be so awesome that you could be selling some weird kind of douche and we'd all want it anyway?

13
jes
Nov 28, 2006

Ewww, gross. Please tell me you're not writing the commercial for a douche.

14
sarcastic journalist
Nov 29, 2006

Yeah, I was kind of wondering what was up with the "dinner party" Flickr pics. So like, do you use a toilet in England?

15
Blythe
Nov 30, 2006

We just passed our second Thanksgiving in Germany, and my father-in-law is still asking us if they "have it" here. And when we tell him no, he tries to argue with us. "Well, they have one in Canada."

16
Jen
Dec 02, 2006

I was in Singapore all last week. A post like this makes me wish I had emailed you to see if you wanted to hang out!

17
Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 03, 2006

You should have done. I could have asked you if the ants were real or just a figment of my imagination.