Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday. Who am I?

I don't know what came over me. In 36 years of life, I have never gone Black Friday shopping, and I have never wanted to. In fact, I used to rail against the commercialism of it all. I was better than that, right? 

And then, I decided, out of the blue, to hit up Target on Black Friday and buy myself a TV. That's right. I didn't even buy something altruistic like presents for the poor, or even presents for my kids. I bought a TV for my laundry room. Who am I? It's like I don't even know myself anymore. (I also bought some yarn, but I feel much less guilty about that.) 

In my defense, I've been cooped up in the house for two weeks with sick kids and I was feeling pretty restless. Also, ever since the old laundry room tv broke, the laundry has been a ridiculous mess. My husband used to go down there for his introvert alone time and watch Chuck Norris movies and fold laundry. Come to think of it, he has been crabbier since that TV broke too. 

Mostly, though, I think I am rebelling. I still like reading better than TV. I still like quiet, simple holidays. I still like long, laborious, home cooked meals. I still think that, overall, we have some cultural bad habits that we would do well to change.  But you know what? Sometimes I also like to watch Netflix and fold some laundry. 

I think it is possible to take things that are  good ideas and try to turn them into virtues. For me, at least, shopping at Target on Black Friday is generally not a good idea, but I have friends who carefully plan their purchases and have a fantastic time with their sisters getting ready for Christmas. Their holiday doesn't center around gifts, but gifts are a part of it, and, for them, it is a bonding experience and an exercise in prudent spending. We do this about many things. Eating. Exercise. Spending. 

I think the complimentary temptation to the temptation to be imprudent and excessive is the temptation to pride. If I am sitting home on Black Friday, pleased with myself that I am not "that sort of person" I have successfully turned virtue into vice. So this year, I am grateful, not just for the TV that will probably bring my laundry back into some semblance of order, but for the opportunity to be humbled. 

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