A play in one act.
Setting: an open-plan office space in eastern Massachusetts.
Cast of Characters:
— BG (British Guy) – a middle-aged upper-level manager visiting from the company’s site in England
— AG1 (American Guy #1) – a middle-aged scientist with a PhD
— AG2 (American Guy #2) – a slightly younger and somewhat more junior scientist
BG: So I understand you have your Thanksgiving holiday next week? What exactly is that? Is it something to do with your independence?
AG1: Yeah, next week. It has to do with the Pilgrims. It was the first year they came here, and they were really grateful. For their religious freedom. I think it was their first year. Oh shoot, I should really know this.
BG: And I hear you eat turkey?
AG1: Yes. Only the Pilgrims didn’t. They had more regular stuff. But now mostly it’s turkey.
BG: So is Thanksgiving always on a Thursday or Friday?
AG1: It’s always the 4th Thursday in November.
AG2: Yeah, and so the traffic always used to be really bad on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with everyone traveling, and one year I got stuck on the Mass Pike for hours, but now the traffic is spread out more into Monday and Tuesday, and so now maybe Tuesday is the worst day.
AG1: There’s a lot of people now who take the whole week off, or at least a couple extra days.
AG2: When I lived in the Midwest, there was never any traffic out there, but here it’s really terrible. And then everyone comes back on Sunday, and the traffic is terrible then too. I got stuck on the Mass Pike for hours all the way from 84 one year.
BG: So does everyone have the Friday off?
AG1: Pretty much. Except for stores. They’re all open and it’s Black Friday.
AG2: Some are even open on Thanksgiving for the Black Friday sales.
BG (looking too confused to dare ask what “Black Friday” means, or why its sales would fall on a Thursday holiday): And then you do all the traveling all over again a month later for Christmas?
AG1: Well, a lot of people celebrate Thanksgiving with one side of the family, and Christmas with the other.
BG (looking relieved at something that finally makes sense, and deciding to end this conversation on a positive note): I can see how that would work out well.