black friday

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I am dizzy with possibility, sobered by probability, and deeply concerned by my sudden and overwhelming desire for Le Creuset cookware. It’s like I don’t know myself anymore.

My kitchen has been painted. It’s a fresh, light green, like spring grass. I bought flowers for the window. My friend’s husband hung a pot rack and shelves. Everything is clean and ripe with visions of hard cheeses and soft breads made from scratch. And yet stifled by the probability of the continuation of simple boiled eggs, brown rice, and stir-fried greens. As for Le Creuset, even on sale it’s beyond my means.

I hired the painter half-price on groupon. Never mind that the painting service profits by nickel and diming both customer and employee or that their office got my address wrong three times or that they falsely advertised the services and product they provide. My kitchen is green and that’s all that matters.

At work, I am famous for my groupon successes and even more famous for my failures which include: being stood up by a dating coach, abandoned by a metaphysical tour guide, sand-papered by an aesthetician with an undefinable accent, and mangled by a deeply discounted dentist.

“You should do a blog on a year of living groupon,” Tim suggests.

“I would probably die. Lonely, broken, and afraid.”

“It would be great!”

This week, groupon is offering a half price hair replacement and 63% off a toe fungus removal appointment. It only covers one toe, though. I am sorely tempted to purchase both, if only to watch in slow motion, disaster unfold.

But, I have other plans.

Las Vegas. Arizona. Hawaii. I’m attempting a three-for-one dating adventure of epic proportions.

In a fit of bargain hunting, I’ve stitched together a flight plan, found a hotel in Vegas for $29 a night and a tree hut outside of Hilo for $40 a night. I was high for a week after punching in my credit card number and hitting ‘send.’

The Excalibur Hotel is just off the strip, to left of the pyramids. They have a nightly jousting tournament, a BeeGees review, and a moat. I am going to attempt to score a date with a knight in shining armor.

“You can practice your flirting at Medieval Times,” says Tim.

“Is there a groupon?”

“If they don’t have one now, they will later.”

We do some research and find that there is a Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, a mere twenty minutes from where I live. Plus, of course, the distance and time needed to find a rental car. So, it’s more like two hours each way. I see myself feasting on a turkey leg, napkin tucked firmly in my collar, rooting for a winner from the front row. The heady smell of horses and hay, the musky sweat of over-dressed athletes in metal suits flung before my feet. Well-trained falcons swoop at my french fries. For a moment, I wish I had a boyfriend with a car. Someone with whom I could share an oven-roasted chicken and a pastry of the castle while watching actors skewer each other with long metal spikes.

“You can upgrade to a utensil-free menu,” Tim reports. “Only twenty dollars.”

“That’s silly. I’ll just eat with my hands and save the money.”

“Plus which, you could pocket the silverware.”

Tim is a very smart man.

I imagine that if I practice flirting with knights in shining armor in Lyndhurst, I’ll be at the top of my game when I giggle with the jousters in Vegas. I’m not sure how to improve my strategy in the case that I find myself face to face with a Barry Gibb impersonator. I don’t think there’s one in Jersey I can practice on. Those guys probably have women crawling all over them. But the knights, I bet, are a rowdy, randy bunch of kooks.

I have a back up plan in case the knights or fake Barry Gibb don’t work out. There’s a speed dating company in Las Vegas that promises a year worth of first dates in one evening. That’s fifty or sixty dates for someone like me. If dating is a numbers game, what better a place to gamble on love than sin city?

Tim digs deeper into the internet to discover that jousting audiences in Medieval Lyndhurst drank frozen pina coladas, margaritas and Corona beer, just like us. I think I might be able to handle this after all.

There was a game show in mid-sixties, around the time that the U.S. was split down the middle by those who wanted an end to the Vietnam conflict and those who lusted for war. It was called Supermarket Sweeps. Couples had a minute and a half to run through a grocery store and shove as many items as they could into their carts. It was a sort of cross between Nascar and Survivor. Those gladiators, who played in syndication well into the seventies, when I watched and strategized my own consumer meltdown, represented the best and worst of America. It was before we let the leashes off of our angry dogs, Greed and Desperation, and let them run rampant on the world, when shopping was not yet  considered an extreme sport or the Great American Past time. People turned away from the pain of a distant country and learned to focus inward, bury themselves in plastic and story-book versions of world events.

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Our parents and the generations that followed accepted poison as food and considered contemplation as a waste of time. They unwrapped and inhaled their own pre-packaged lives it while watching actors mimic them on TV, in magazines, on cable, and in movies – doing everything they did, but better, prettier, richer. Funnier. With style.

I wonder if those jousting knight love their jobs or if they’re unfulfilled actors. If they practice jousting in their backyards and hold dear a lasting friendship with the thunderous horses they ride. If they choose a damsel in the audience every night to fight for. If that damsel, greasy lips, greasy finger tips, overwhelmed by syrupy sweetness of her frozen drink, knows that someone somewhere in front of her sees her and would to play to the fake death to save her from a loneliness buried so deep she doesn’t know its hers.

I wonder if the fake jousting knights are lonely, too. Frightened by their own lust for things they don’t need. Caught in a cycle of wake up, shower, eat, joust, sleep.

I wonder if they’re jealous of fake Barry Gibb. Or if fake Barry Gibb is jealous of them.

Maybe they feel sorry for him because he doesn’t own a sword.

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2 thoughts on “black friday

  1. Brilliant!

    Did you really book a trifecta?!? I’m so thrilled for you I may just fly right out of my seat.

    Also, the green is lovely. I would like to come live in your kitchen right now…and I know how small it is, but it’s beautiful, lively and comforting all at once. Just like you.

    • I did! And I just booked my room at The Excalibur, where I am sure to swoon from the shiny sweat of shirtless BeeGees impersonators!

      Next are the Phoenix arrangements, if you know anyone/ anything there… let me know!

      The kitchen is amazing! I’m hoping the fix-it enthusiasm will infiltrate the rest of the apartment. Right now, while the kitchen is pretty well organized, the disorganization has tumbled out and into the foyer…

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