Late Night Scene at The Del Hotel
It's gonna be a looooong weekend. Let's take it easy tonight.
How was Thanksgiving? We do the thing? How many of you managed to fully avoid any mention of geopolitical issues?
Honestly, I am lucky to be surrounded by incredibly smart family members each year, and this year not a single one of us brainiacs mentioned anything about what’s happening out there. We didn’t talk COVID, we didn’t talk about Israel and Palestine, and we didn’t talk about Trump or Biden.
The most out there I got was a 10 minute conversation with my brother about the absolute clown show that is the New York Jets. Even Grandma Bev managed to find a certain level of decorum; at one point we thought she was calling someone we all know a pussy, when in fact she had clearly said “pussy cat” (she was still being derisive and judgmental but like, that’s Bev).
I know this family can go deep on the issues when we want to, but god damn do I appreciate when we just don’t sometimes. Instead we got drunk, told family stories to my in-laws that they’ve both definitely heard before, marveled over my sister-in-law’s Taylor Swift cookies, and spent a good chunk of time shopping for a new car for my brother. Simple, unbothered, and for a brief moment, unburdened.
There’s a lot going on out there. I’ve been meaning to write about all of it, but like everyone else my feelings are definitely complicated, probably ignorant, and almost certainly prone to misinterpretation. I’ll try over the coming days to get to some of those more meaty topics, they’re not really the kind of ideas you want to power blog through but I’ll do my best and see what sheikhs out. Woof, sorry about that. It’s going to be rough if that pun is any indication.
But not tonight. Tonight I just want to appreciate the power of taking a break from the things that make us anxious, recognizing that the struggle will be there in the morning. It’s okay to put yourself in rooms with people who share your desire to just not.
This is assuredly a position of privilege, some folks don’t have the luxury of turning away from the atrocities in front of them. I get it, I’m sorry. But anyone who does any kind of front line work will tell you: If you can take a break, you should.
Fighting the good fight requires two key things: The energy to keep fighting, and a vivid picture of what you’re fighting for. Energy is pretty simple, it requires the occasional rest to recharge fully.
And what are we fighting for? A Thanksgiving where the drama revolves solely around sides timing running behind turkey timing? Not exactly. We’re fighting (or at least, I’m fighting) so that every family can have a place like I’m fortunate enough to have with my family; a safe space filled with visible live laugh and love.
So why would we try and turn those safe spaces into a battleground too? Isn’t that the opposite of pacifism? Of course, you may have family members who can’t help themselves. There’s always one in the bunch who likes placing the bait, and another who always seems to enjoy taking it.
Here’s my advice: You know who both of the hooligans are in your circle (hopefully you only have two, but this still works if your hooligans have already started building factions). The goal is to keep them from hooning out the way they normally do, and the easiest way to do that is to identify the key instigators, pull them aside one by one, preferably before the alcohol starts flowing, and just ask them to, for one night only, hold their fire. Keep it to themselves, let everyone have a night away from the world we inhabit every other minute of our lives.
Some will be understanding, others will be indigent and try to fight with you. If they’re the former, you should be good to go, though if they mention anything even remotely controversial through the rest of the evening, just shoot ‘em a disappointed look. They may say something idiotic like “sorry, don’t want to melt the snowflake” but like. That’s fine. Don’t take that bait, chuckle and say “you can call me whatever you want, just please let’s try to put it aside for an evening.” If they’re not totally off their rocker, this should be enough.
Let’s talk about the ones who are more brazen though, the kind of folks you can’t just pull aside for a chitchat. For them, it’s important not that you win the instigator over, but instead that you go to the person who normally takes the instigator’s bait, and ask them to just ignore it. These folks hate being ignored (same tbh), so they’ll usually become louder and more obnoxious in an attempt to get any kind of rise out of anyone.
This behavior should be ignored by the group too, though at a certain point it may become so unrelenting that the group needs to collectively turn on the instigator. In that scenario, the instruction to everyone else is to just laugh. Don’t respond, don’t engage on the merit of any arguments. Just point and laugh.
It sounds crude, and may not save your next holiday if your instigator is hell bent on raising hell, but you can at least try to have a pre-game chat with all involved parties before the fighting starts. Again, I’m not trying to silence what are very important points that need to be addressed out there, I’m just saying that maybe a holiday dinner is the last place you want to try and reconcile a family member’s global-scale geopolitical takes! Save it for some other time, buster, the war is out there not in here.
Anyway, I’m talking about your family and not mine, we mostly just talked shit on Zach Wilson and complimented mom’s cooking. It’s okay to just do that sometimes, preserving and promoting that bliss for everyone generally requires you to know what that bliss looks and feels like. Not always, get out of your bubble as often as you can and gawk at the inhumanity that exists out there. But also appreciate that you have a bubble, and you should protect it at all costs.
If all we do is fight, then all we’ll do is fight. If you only break it up after it starts, you’ve already lost. Want to make a difference out there? Cool everyone’s jets around you when you can before they start up, yourself included. Don’t take the bait, keep your space safe so you can go out there and advocate for every human to have what you’re lucky enough to get to squander.
On that note: I’m delirious. 4 posts in 12 hours is pretty good, not me at full Roman trireme ramming speed blogging, but today was a chill day. We’ll really open her up tomorrow.