Sunday, October 9, 2011


Today is Moldy Cheese Day, but few observe the occasion in a formal capacity. More people recognize the day as Thanksgiving (in Canada). Instead of thinking about gratitude, it is a time when I fight off pity. And, yes, I almost always win the battle with self-pity. It’s the pity from others that creates more challenges.

The good thing about Canadian Thanksgiving is there is no clarity over when to have the big celebration. When I lived in the U.S., it was always on the Thursday. Everything except Denny’s and 7-Eleven shut down. Here, some folks have the big dinner on Sunday, others on Monday. This helps as there isn’t one particular day to lump me with the sad sacks.

I am a vegetarian with vegan leanings so I am not missing out on turkey and gravy. In the past, I have picked at too many sides of heavily sugared sweet potatoes. I am not even a fan of thick pie crusts. (A pumpkin pie Blizzard at DQ suits me just fine.) Obviously, it is not about the meal. It is the expectation that eats at me.

Just before the holiday comes the obligatory question: “What are doing for Thanksgiving?” When I smile and say I’m repainting the ceiling in the basement, people respond with looks of deep sympathy. Oh, poor you. Yes, I shouldn’t have bumbled the first painting attempt. Of course, that’s not what they mean.

Sometimes I get an invite somewhere, but I have regularly declined over the past two decades. The host needn’t stress over making an entirely separate entrĂ©e—which he or she invariably does. “Oh, it was no trouble at all” is the standard line, but good hosts are bad liars. When I go to barbecues, I eat first or bring my own food, but it is harder to be inconspicuous at a sit-down dinner.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I hosted Canadian Thanksgivings. I could serve stuffed peppers without people feeling disappointed. They’d get a crack at a turkey leg at the end of November. In Vancouver, I went through a couple of years of inviting over others with families in Ontario or elsewhere. The Bailey’s chocolate chip cheesecake quirked things up enough to help folks get over the mindset that a plate of roasted veggies left a void. Over the past decade, however, friends have settled into marriages and young families. Thanksgivings are with the newly doting grandparents.

I could have gone this weekend to Tofino with my two remaining single gay friends. They’re great for shopping weekends, but not for holidays. Neither of them has ever (EVER!) expressed the slightest desire to find a partner. Indeed, they resemble a couple, well-settled in a sexless relationship. Their “children” are the latest techno gadgets, every conversation interrupted by an iPhone Google search or a quick check of an incoming text.

No, I am happy to paint the ceiling. I will walk the dog on the beach. I will hit the gym where others stumble in before that sleep-inducing turkey enzyme casts its spell. I am thankful for an extra day of sleeping later and letting the early morning ferry sail on without me.

Tuesday morning I’ll be hit with people asking, “How was your Thanksgiving?” I am prepared with a quick, “Fine. Wasn’t the weather wonderful on Sunday?” If we can leave it at that, I will be spared the looks. Can we move on? October 12 is Farmer’s Day, the 14th is Grover’s birthday and the 15th is National Grouch Day. October is also National Popcorn Popping Month, National Pizza Month, National Clock Month (huh?) and, best of all, National Roller Skating Month. These are just a few of the occasions I can celebrate on equal terms!

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