Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween Memories

Halloween is kind of a weird day in my mind. When you're a child, it was very exciting. You dress up in a sometimes silly costume and bug your neighbors for candy. Half the time your mother made you wear a jacket, covering up the costume you were so excited about, but you still got candy, so whatever. I don't remember specific Halloweens that much, but one of my favorite memories from childhood is the post-Trick-or-Treating Candy Exchange that would take place at my friend's house, where my cronies and I would gather to trade off the candy we maybe didn't want for stuff we did that was given to someone else. For some reason, no one but me liked the Sweet Tarts. God times.

As I got older, I wanted to hang on to the Trick or Treating as long as I could, so I would find some younger friend to walk around with and still net myself some treats. I thought it was brilliant, but a lot of my peers had given up on the whole thing. I loved it, though, so why stop? Again, no specific memories come to mind, but it was cool to get free candy.

When even my young friends got too old to go Trick or Treating, I finally had to give it up. Eventually, in my early twenties, my girlfriend and I used to dress up to hand out the candy at her house. Plus, we did all the local haunted houses and visited Salem every year. One year we even had a party, and I was Indiana Jones. I don't remember much else, but I'm sure it was fun.

Nowadays, Halloween has become like New Year's, where everyone asks you the next day what you did (and you better have had something to do.) Almost everyone I know dressed up as something to do whatever it was they were doing. I was shocked. Where were all you people when I was thirteen and I was the only one still clinging to the traditions?

I live in an apartment in the city, so no kids ring my buzzer, but I did take a little walk through the neighborhoods of Brookline to get into the spirit. I saw plenty of children (and parents) dressed up and getting candy, and it really warmed my heart (the fact that it was about 70 degrees out didn't hurt. No jackets required. Thanks, climate crisis.) But it was good to see in these cynical, uptight times that kids will still dress up and run from door-to-door demanding treats, and people will still give them. It may be the one day a year that I don't hate children. Of course, I don't have to answer a doorbell every five minutes.

For the adults that I knew that all had "something to do," most of them got dressed up and went to parties, and it wasn't about the candy for them. Granted, for a lot of them it's an excuse to dress like a slut or make a fool of yourself, but still, they are having a good time. I guess that's the only "candy" adults need, really. I mean, as a kid, you rely on Halloween for your candy intake for most of November (at least), but as an adult, if I want some candy, I can just go buy it. What I can't buy is a good time at a party with friends, and the memories that go along with all that (assuming, of course, you do remember it).

With all that in mind, I had a very interesting Halloween memory the other night. I was on my way home in the wee hours, and I hailed a cab. The cab driver, a gruff, middle-aged fellow, told me to sit in the front seat. That was creepy enough, but then he said, "We're gonna get some pussy."

I wasn't sure if he was taking the "trick" part a bit too far. "Okay?"

Then he asked, "Can you talk? Are you good at talking?"

I should have said, "Nope. Sorry," and jumped out then, but I wanted to get home. He proceeds to pick up a girl wearing one of those cloaks that Afgan women wear, and she was covered from head-to-toe. this was obviously her costume, because she was carrying a sign with some sort of political statement on it that I don't recall. She said she lived on the way to my place, so she got in and away we went.

It took Crazy Cabbie two seconds to start hitting on her, even going right for the phone number. I was like, "Dude, she could have two noses under there. You have no idea what's going on." He was undeterred, and soon they were speaking in Arabic to each other, as she said she was a student learning the language. he complimented her on her diction, too. This guy was a real smoothie, and I was wondering why she was talking to him at all, in any language.

I asked if she was a BU student, since she lived in the area, and she said she was. When I mentioned I worked there, she said, "Hey, I know you. You're the A/V Guy at CGS!"

Sigh. Small world. So, we chatted about that for a couple minutes, and soon enough we were in her neighborhood (at least, she said it was good and got out. I'm pretty sure she didn't want either of us to know where she lived.) I decided I had heard enough, too, so I paid the fare and walked the rest of the way. The girl offered me some money, but I felt she had suffered enough, so I refused. I wonder if he ever got any.

It was an odd ride on many levels. For one, I happened to be wearing leather pants, so there was at least a 50-50 chance that I wasn't even interested in women. Second, there were probably thousands of half-naked drunk chicks looking for cabs at that time, so why pick up the girl in the burqa? And to top it all off, she knew who I was?

Now that's a Halloween I won't soon forget.

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