Hello. Somehow it's November 27th. I've spent the last four-ish days in the chaotic-but-pleasant haze of Thanksgiving entertaining. My attention has been fixed on things like clarified butter and the proper internal temperature of a turkey breast. At one point, I had a small meltdown over the quantity of stuffing mix we purchased (no way, I thought, did we have enough) only to realize that everyone I knew could've come to dinner and eaten seconds and thirds. I'm like (a more radiant and youthful version of) someone's Bubbie in that way.
In four day's time, I've retrieved my brother and my dad from LAX and dropped them back off again. In between, we've eaten obligatory Los Angeles meals at Guisados and Grand Central Market, made some obscure purchases at The Last Bookstore, saw the Pixar exhibit at the California Science Center, and had Thanksgiving dinner three times over (indeed, there are leftovers). I got used to the rhythm of spending all my time with the people I love—the crusty state of the kitchen, a constantly regenerating pile of dirty dishes, eating and drinking together, and the low hum of conversation in the living room.
"Stop the world! I wanna get off!" It's something my mom always says. I can't remember who said that originally and neither can she. But it gets right to the heart of something I always feel right before the holidays start. One week after Thanksgiving, there is my birthday, then the mad dash to send holiday gifts to the other side of the country, RSVP to this and that, and make plans for New Years. Come December, this whole business of living feels a little too fast.
Time, or lack of it, is the reason I write. And cook. They're both mediums to contemplate what makes us human—love, longing, appetite, among other things. Time slows down when we take ourselves out of the game for a moment, like it does for a toddler made to take a five-minute break mid-tantrum. Getting everyone together for Thanksgiving to cook, drink, eat, and talk (and argue about politics) has that effect too. And so does sitting at my kitchen counter, on this gray afternoon, to write for a few hours after everyone has gone home and the soft light makes everything feel muted and still.