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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My guess is that most Black Friday shoppers would not use pepper spray to get their X-Boxes and such, but I didn't test that theory. I celebrated the day the way I always do, by barricading myself in my house. Come to think of it, I celebrate a lot of days that way, not just holidays. And I've never been pepper sprayed, so apparently I'm doing something right.

Even though I get panicky in crowds, I've never considered anything more toxic than my elbows (and, if truth be told, other body parts, mostly joints) as weapons to get through them, or to clear a little personal space. I just want room to breathe, and when I don't have it I become a different person. You would not want to be around the modified limited Incredible Hulk I become in a crowd. You would either want to get me to a safe room, or get out of the way of my elbows. Depends on factors.

It's not that I'm misanthropic. I love people. Almost everyone I've ever met (since I escaped from high school, anyway) has been kind to me, and probably worth knowing. I don't reach out, though, so the few friends I've had have either been forced to be around me, or for some reason I can't fathom have made an extra effort to get close. For that I am more grateful than I can even express.

My family is more or less required to deal with me. I mean, I haven't ever (to my knowledge) done anything that would give them an excuse to disown me, so I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner once again this year. I even brought a side dish. It was a great time, a Thursday spent with family and friends, and I was comfortable in their presence. A little wine didn't hurt, but I would have embraced the experience even without it.

It's not just the people. It's the traffic, too. When I was younger I wasn't intimidated. I used to drive to Warrior games at the Oakland Coliseum Arena and charge through traffic on my way out with such ease that I received an award for my skills. Well, that's not quite true, but I was admired, at least. Now I shop when I'm least likely to find a full lot, and even then I choose to park as far away from the stores as I can. I'd rather walk through a parking lot than drive through one. That's another factor.

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