We left Carol’s parents’ house quite late and headed down Interstate 495. It was ten thirty so traffic was light. We drove along smoothly, listening to the news from Mumbai. Suddenly brake lights flashed red in front of us. Cars around us began slowing down. Ahead of us I could see stopped traffic. “What is it?” Carol said. “Must be an accident,” I said, moving over to the middle lane of the highway. We could see blue lights of a police car. But when we got closer, we saw that it wasn’t an accident. Cars were waiting to get onto an exit ramp, and I remembered I had seen one of those flashing traffic signs with a message about parking for the outlet malls. “It’s people going to the outlet malls, the ones that are going to open at midnight,” I said. “That’s crazy,” said Carol, “and look at all the traffic jam on the other side of the highway!” It was even worse on the northbound side.
Starting at midnight (right about now) it’s Black Friday, the day when retail stores supposedly make enough money to finally put them in the black for the year, the day when millions of crazed Americans drive around spending lots of money to buy Christmas presents. As for me, I’ll be staying home.