Well, it’s that time of year again – when many Canadian families, friends and loved ones make their travels and gather ’round tables to feast on whatever traditions have been established under their roofs. For us there are no big surprises to showcase; turkey, potatoes, all the usual fixings, followed by a pie or two and the ridiculous and never-to-come-to-fruition suggestion to go for a post-meal walk. It’s a lovely time because we are together simply to be together. There are no presents to dole out, no need to rise earlier than the sun, and no need to invest in overly elaborate light displays or decor (though I will say there is a fantastic centre-piece you can find here...). No, Thanksgiving doesn’t need any of the extra frou, just be you and be prepared to pitch in on either the prep or the clean up of an epic meal.
Hosting any event is something that Alison and I enjoy, in part because we love people, but we also have a curious affinity for organizing, planning, and putting things into spreadsheets. This year will be no different, as we bring our families together for a lovely celebration and regale in stories and updates from each other’s lives. It’s quite likely that our conversation will at some point turn to the tried and true question of: what are you thankful for? The answers will be precisely what you’d expect them to be, with everyone touching on topics of family, friends, loved ones, position in life, roofs over our heads and other very genuine though predictable answers. Mine would be no different, as they are all so incredibly true. That said, there are a few other things I find myself grateful for these that I may not get the chance to express through all the hullabaloo of so many other voices around the table, and so I thought this a good platform to share these otherwise overlooked sentiments, deserving of some time in the spotlight.
I read somewhere once (and while I don’t recall where, just trust me that it was a super reliable and trustworthy source, and that what I’m about to say is 100% true) that those with incredibly sensitive hearing, who are distracted and perhaps irritated by background noise and sound are considered, like, next level genius.
Simply put: I don’t know how to handle extraneous noises. If you’re in a room with me and you open a bag of Doritos, it’s going to instantly grab my full attention and the incessant crunching that I know will follow is going to echo in my brain in a way that has me yearn for some type of physical escape. Please don’t try to ‘soften’ the crunching by taking smaller bites, or slowing your movements, either, because that’s only going to exacerbate the issue for me. Popcorn in a movie theatre? The worst. Slurping soup from a spoon? I almost don’t want to be your friend. Those ASMR videos that made their way around a few years back? What kind of sick, cruel joke was that?! As soon as I hear the crunch of a grape or the open-mouth chewing of gum, it’s literally the only thing my brain can focus on, and I don’ know how to tune it out.
On this subject, being the parent of two kids under the age of 10, whose table manners are still developing, has presented itself an interesting dilemma for me to reconcile. I don’t know how on earth it’s possible to make eating a marshmallow a loud and boisterous affair, but somehow they can achieve this impossibility. Not only that, they have this inherent need to eat as close to me as possible, nestling into to my neck as they crunch away on an apple while I try to read them a story. I thought all was lost for me on this, until I started using these handy little devices, whose noise cancelling feature have brought me much peace and comfort, while now also being completely socially acceptable to wear anytime and any place. So, crunch, chomp and chew away my friends, I simply can’t hear you. For that I am grateful
Blue Tooth Headphones for The Kids
Headed out for a long car ride? Load up an e-book, sync up their headphones and, BOOM! No more “Are we there yet?” or “My sister keeps poking my ear with her French fries!” Nope, just pure, quiet serenity as I a steer our ship down the road. Not to mention it also means I don’t need listen to their music all the time (though I’ll admit there are some real bangers that I play on my way to work some days…we’re now into The Zombies soundtracks and they aren’t the worst)
The Ability to Meet Virtually…and Turn off My Camera
I’m told I have an expressive face. My coworkers know on any given day what type of mood I’m in without an exchange of words. My kids are quick to inform me that I have a particular ‘smirk’ and they can tell when I’m joking around or holding back a surprise. My wife tells me that she can ‘read my face’ at any moment, so there’s no point in pretending; and although I know she, and everyone else are right, still I say to all of you: Phooey!
Now, as I’m sure you can imagine, I have a bit of a playful spirit in life, and while I do recognize there are times to be serious and that gravity exists in a situation, such as business meetings, I still laugh internally when someone says things like ‘do-do’. When I’m in a face-to-face, in-person meeting reviewing the important, yet highly detailed minutia of the last ten years of daily transactions, controlling my facial muscles becomes a challenge and then, unfortunately what I think is external, is actually very visible to everyone else in the room, so I’m likely going to need to excuse myself. Not so on a virtual meeting! I just hit that handy ‘camera off’ button and I can smirk until the cows come home. For that I am grateful. hehehe, do-do.
Say what you will about smart home devices and what Bezos does or doesn’t know about my personal habits, I love having Alexa in the house. Not only do I have access to my favourite tunes, podcasts, e-books and sportscasts at any time, but because of the handy little device, I’ve gained years back on my life when considering how many trips up and down the stairs I have saved.
See, with the drop-in/intercom feature of Alexa/Echo/Whatever, I don’t have to constantly trek from floor to floor when the echos of “DADDDDDDDDY” come flying through the air at bedtime, only to trudge my way up to answer the question of “Why are dough and rough pronounced differently?” or climb up for the third time to inform that dinner is on the table. Instead, I simply drop in on whatever room they’re in to let them know that “Although dough and rough contain the same letters, with this cough I’m fighting through I can’t plough through a thorough enough explanation, just know that English if tough.” For that I am grateful.
Can I live without these superficial objects? Absolutely! But the fact I don’t have to right now is glorious. So, while many of us, myself included, will find gratitude in the people that we love and bring us joy this weekend, I didn’t want these particular items to go without their time in the spotlight. What are you grateful for?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!