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Of Ray Bradbury and Black Friday
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I wonder if Ray Bradbury was morbidly happy.

I wonder if he picked up the paper, pointed to Associated Press images sent nation-wide to readers, of Americans with shopping carts awkwardly holding 46-inch HDTVs on Black Friday and said, “See! I told you 50 years ago where we were headed.”

Now, I don’t know if one day firemen will burn homes and people along with their books a la “Fahrenheit 451”, or if people will be sent to their local loony-bin for taking a walk rather than watching TV as in “The Pedestrian,” but I was curious. I also thought it would be funny if he saw all the Black Friday chaos on his own TV, or if he had ever Googled, “HD resolution”.

It was about this time that a lady cut me off in an intersection without signaling. Once she had this accomplished and we were stopped at the red light, both looking to make a right hand turn, she then turned on her blinker. If her van had the middle finger, I think this would have been it.

Oh, Black Friday Magic.

I consciously thrust myself into Friday’s chaos so I wasn’t counting on being surprised and though she probably would have executed this maneuver any day of the year, I was happy she was thoughtful enough to do so on a day in which I was penning my observations for a column.

Perhaps the other lady that turned left at a circle intersection ignoring not just the flow of traffic, but the One Way sign that she apparently thought was staked into the grassy circle to keep it from floating away, was just as thoughtful. 

But it wasn’t just the driving that excited me.

Black Friday is so much more.

It’s that brave father, toddlers in tow, leading his family to deals by crossing a street diagonally to ensure the most time in front of waiting vehicles.

It’s people dropping their items and running out of Bass Pro Shops after it is announced that Manteca PD is en route to tow the vehicles that parked in the dirt lot rather than the parking lot.

It’s spending $500 so you can save $300, and the discovery of something you didn’t know you needed, then determining all life will cease to exist if you remain deprived of ownership.

It’s a 1:43 lunch at Chili’s where the aftermath of a lunch rush forced the manager to clean tables in an entire section himself. It wasn’t too busy when I sat down at the bar for lemonade, water, a burger and a half-hours worth of anecdotal writing in my notebook.

On my Black Friday list was contact solution and razor blades which I hate buying. I think of the new chunks of elk hair I could buy for more caddis flies, or new floating fly-line, or gas money to the Trinity River whenever I waste money on things like grooming and eye sight. 

I participated in cyber-Monday but it was largely uneventful.  I saw no traffic, but bought a few books.

I think Bradbury would be proud. 

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail