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My Family and Harry Potter

“What are you thankful for?” – With the frequency and exuberance that this question is asked every fall, I am inclined to believe that the majority of society harbors an unconscious fear that the fourth Thursday of November may never actually get here if you don’t ask, and answer, that question.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times the question is posed to me, it always goes down about the same way:

Friend/Family/Stranger, innocently: So, what are you thankful for this year?

Me, flustered: Uhhh, well…

Me, in my head: There are so many things I’m thankful for, how do I pick just one?  Let’s see, I’m thankful for my family… but, I don’t want to be predictable; everyone says ‘my family.’ What about ‘the promise of classic, corny Christmas movies’?  Now I’ve taken too long to answer… just say something!

Me, still flustered: …My family.

Friend/Family/Stranger, in his/her head: Way to be conventional…

This year, however, I’ve decided to be prepared; I have a few sincere, and hopefully slightly original, answers already figured out.  This year, I am thankful for…

The break part of Thanksgiving Break!

Even though I have more work due the week after break than I’ve had due any week this semester so far, and even though I’m not leaving campus until Sunday afternoon in a vain attempt to finish this work, and even though I’ll have to spend a good portion of my break reading and writing papers instead of watching football and shopping, I’m still excited to go home!  Actually, if I was really intent on finishing all of my homework before the end of break, I should really just stay on campus.  Let’s be honest here, when I get home, my mom’s going to want to go for coffee (and I want to go too, because I miss her), and my brother’s going to want to drive me around town again (he’s only had his license for 7 months, so it’s still a big deal), and I promised to watch Outsourced with my dad before he leaves for India at the end of the week, and there’s at least one other special person I would like to spend a fair amount of time with, oh, and I would really like to sleep a little too… Basically, once I’m home, my academic productivity will inevitably go way down.  So, even though I probably shouldn’t be taking a vacation right now, and my stress level afterwards will be through the roof, I’m still thankful for the prospect of break.

Food!  Specifically, home-cooked meals!

This is my third year on campus; I’ve done the dorm thing, and I’m currently doing the apartment thing, and, really, it’s a lose-lose situation on the food front.  When I was eating dorm food for every meal my freshman year, I nearly became a vegetarian – it’s tough to mess up a salad you assemble yourself.  Now, two years later, I’m all grown up and living in my very first apartment, and while I really enjoy the freedom it offers, my sad, empty fridge and barren cupboards sometimes make me wish I was back in the LAR dining hall.  It’s not that I actually miss the taste of the food, or that lovely cafeteria smell, it’s more the dependability that I remember so fondly – dinner was ready and waiting for me between the hours of 4:30 and 7pm, no forethought or trip to County Market required.  This Thanksgiving, more than ever before, I am looking forward to turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and homemade baked goods!  Dinners at home are way up there on my list of things to be thankful for.

Sleep.  Also, no alarm.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t wake up to an alarm.  I’m not sure I even remember what it feels like to wake up naturally, fully rested, and ready for the day.  Needless to say, I am not a morning person.  It doesn’t seem to matter what I wake up to – preprogrammed cell phone tones, iPod playlist, the classic “EHRR-EHRR-EHRR-EHRR!” – nine months out of the year, I wake reluctantly, sometimes angrily, and always defiantly (the snooze button and I are best friends).  People keep telling me that, someday, I’ll turn into a morning person out of necessity, like when I have a real job, but I just don’t see it happening… not unless we shift our perception of time and have ‘mornings’ start around 10am.  Either way, I am thrilled at the prospect of falling asleep a few nights next week, knowing full well that no electronic device will wake me come morning.

Harry Potter.

No, I did not go see the midnight premier, but I already know what happens, so you can’t ruin it for me.  I’m seeing the movie on Monday though, and I am really excited!  I grew up with HP; his was one of the first book series that I read all by myself.  When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released, I was 8 years old and in the third grade!  Every other summer, up until I turned 17, I anxiously awaited the next installment of our whiny hero’s life.  Furthermore, for the brief moment in time when our ages aligned, I felt an even stronger connection to his plight.  Could you imagine learning at age 11 that some wacko’s goal in life is to kill you?  I sure couldn’t.  Harry is quite brave; that’s why the sorting hat let him into Gryffindor… I should probably move on before I embarrass myself…  Thus, this Thanksgiving, just like every alternating Thanksgiving for the last few years, I’m very thankful for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Warner Brothers.  (On a side note, Microsoft Word recognized “Gryffindor” as a word; I was impressed.)

There, now this Thanksgiving I won’t be caught off guard.  Even if I draw a blank when someone asks me, my answers are up online for the entire world to see… The fact that I’m prepared is officially undeniable!  I can see the conversation now… It’s still awkward, but at least it’s something different:

Family/Friend/Stranger, innocently: So, what are you thankful for this year?

Me, confidently: Can I borrow your laptop real quick?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Taylor

P.S. I’m thankful for my family too.

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