It's cold turkey day - or Black Friday, as it's known here. Everyone is stuffed to the gills with Thanksgiving Dinner and the airwaves are filled with ads informing us that various stores are opening at midnight for 'doorbuster' deals. Last night we watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV with the boys; the second half, in which Charlie Brown and Snoopy join the pilgrims on the voyage of the Mayflower and at the first Thanksgiving feast, was incongruously interspersed with ads for half-price 32 inch plasma TV screens that would surely have made the pilgrim fathers blush.
Instead of going hunting for doorbuster deals, the boys and I hotfooted it down to the town library for the 'holiday show' - a concert by a country and western style kids' band. I knew from experience to get there a little early in order to secure a decent seat, so we managed to get in and sit down at the front of the little auditorium.
And then the altercations started. My God. You can see why people get trampled to death at Wal-Mart in the sales on Black Friday. (That tragically really did happen, here on Long Island, a couple of years ago). Behind us, a couple of women who must have been mother and daughter, judging by their identical brassy hairdos and penchant for gold-flecked black sweaters, had pitched up, without any children, to reserve some seats. But the pair (let's call them Mommy and Granny A) had arrived at the second row at exactly the same time as another woman (let's call her Mommy B) who had a voice as sweet as apple pie but the steely determination of Bree from Desperate Housewives.
"Sorry, but we're going to need these two whole rows for our family," says Granny A.
"But I just got here too," replies Mommy B sweetly.
"Well, we are here, and we need the two rows. You'll have to go somewhere else," says Mommy A.
Mommy B was having none of it. "Well, I got here at the same time as you, and I am sitting here. C'mon, kids," she says, plonking herself down with her three kids. Cue much muttering from Mommy and Granny A. "Can you believe her ATTITUDE?" was one of the whisperings I heard.
A few minutes later, the auditorium was filling up. Mommy A's family still hadn't pitched up. They had saved a lot of seats. Then Mommy C arrives. There is another altercation - this time I don't hear the whole thing but it ends up with Mommy C saying loudly, "well, I took the trouble and got here early, so I am going to sit here!"
Mommy and Granny A are outraged. Then finally their brood does show up...and one of the kids immediately starts screeching, causing everyone else to turn around and stare balefully. They do, however, seem to enjoy the show, forgetting their feuds in order to take hundreds of photos of their kids on their iPhones. I kind of admire their chutzpah- they don't care what anyone thinks of them, as long as the kids look cute in the photos.
I guess tensions could well be running high on the day after Thanksgiving (after all, if this article is anything to be believed, one in 10 women actually dread the Thanksgiving dinner because of all the family rows that ensue). Everyone's probably feeling knackered and over-fed. Cold turkey. (I wonder if that's where the expression came from?).
Whatever, if this is what happens at a children's concert, all I can say is I wouldn't want to cross any of these women in a stand-off over the last discount plasma TV....