FRIDAY BEFORE DAWN: It's a time when a whole lot of us will be converging on department stores to get the best possible deals for Stuff. At least that's what I infer from the full-page newspaper ads in the morning paper, heralding that the doors will open at 5:00am the day after Thanksgiving. Memo: I find this bizarre. Confession: I've done it. Last year I found myself on the road in what seemed the dead of night, to make it to the Disney Store to snag a collection of The Incredibles action figures for my son. I did it partly because I bought into the two-part hype: 1) Excellent prices for 4 hours! and 2) Supplies limited! Mostly I made the trek for what I can only call anthropological reasons. Having always wondered what would make a sane person head to a shopping mall even at a normal hour the day after Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist seeing/hearing/feeling what it would be like to be one of the earliest participants in a uniquely American ritual. Suffice to say the experience is a unique altered-state-of-consciousness, one without any noticable hangover. This weekend I'll spend in a slightly related mind-altering activity: packing up my stuff for the movers. Buy more Stuff? I already have too much — and I'm paying strangers to put it in a truck and drive it across town to a new residence, where I'll unpack ... and wait for the cable guy to show up.