This probably won't happen again this year: I went to Best Buy and Target this morning and walked out of both stores smiling. Yes, they were crowded, and I'll go miles out of the way to avoid crowds. Why did I go to the Rialto this weekend, instead of one of the multiplexes? Because it wasn't showing any films that were likely to draw a crowd. The two people waiting in line to see Bread and Tulips were very polite. There was no shoving or shouting. I didn't get short of breath, my head didn't ring and my chest didn't clench up.
Back to today. The people I found at the stores were still in a mellow mood. Small children weren't whining yet. Nobody was pushing anybody out of the way, or flouncing around because they weren't getting waited on fast enough. Maybe this is still part of the good will that people are showing each other in recent weeks. Even if that's the case, it will change over the next month. People just aren't that nice to each other when the pressure is on. But today I got in and out of Best Buy and Target without incident, even though they didn't have enough registers open, as usual.
My clue that not everything has changed came when I tried to drive out of the parking lot. That's when my patience (not one of my better qualities when I'm out in public, although I'm excessively patient one-on-one) began to fray. Suddenly I was the Tar— uh, target. Cars were everywhere. They were all moving in different directions but all pointed at me. The ones that weren't moving were blocking my way. I still had to get to the post office, but I parked three blocks away and walked, just to avoid more of the same. I do that kind of thing all the time.
But I got my absolutely necessary, no-excuses pre-Thanksgiving shopping done. I didn't try to brave the tumult at the grocery store today, though. I'll make do with what's in the pantry until after the holiday. I've been stocking up on Raisin Bran Crunch and Kozy Shack tapioca, so if I don't run out of rice cakes I should be all right. I can't think of anything that would be worth hacking my way through the aisles at Safeway the day before the biggest eating day on the calendar. (Unless I had company coming for turkey and fixings, which I don't.)