The holiday hustle and bustle seems to have shifted into third gear, at least in my world. Yesterday, I took a break from writing to venture into a mega mall (apparently I’d had too much caffeine and was feeling brave). The crowds were dense and lots of people were pushing and sometimes shoving. The scene reminded me of something my sister had shared after a chaotic day with a class of kindergarteners. She’d said: “Working with a large group of five-year-olds is like herding cats. Each and every one has a mind of its own and an intent of its own.” That’s when the thought hit me that holiday shoppers (yes, I include myself in this) are kind of like kindergarteners. Or cats.
Minutes later, as I waited for a salesperson to return from retrieving an item I needed, I watched a woman in a festive Christmas sweater and a man in a crisp suit circling a salesperson already engaged with a customer. Ms. Christmas Sweater and Mr. Suit reminded me of a hungry cheetah and a famished lion sizing up a lone antelope. Big cats stalking, salivating, competing. The pounces promised to be cutthroat and anything but pretty. I pitied the antelope.
As I drove home, anxious to get back to the peace and tranquility of my writing, I thought about this great book that I read years ago: All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. And it occurred to me that at this time of year, as the stresses of the holiday season rain down on many of us like December snow on the North Pole, it might be warming, dare I say comforting, to remember some of the lessons of kindergarten. Because, really, wouldn’t the world (or at least the mega malls) be more pleasant if everyone took turns, played nicely, shared with others, said sorry when necessary, refrained from hitting, and remembered to be fair? And maybe the world would be even better if we all took time for cookies and milk and an afternoon nap. Maybe.