~ The Halloween Episode
It's been another disappointing year for trick or treaters in my neighborhood. Despite the warm spell in the northeast, no more than 15 of them stopped by this year, a dozen of whom arrived in one giggling, preteen mob, and the rest being over the age of 8. Where were all the cute little ones in fuzzy baby animal costumes this year?
I've always had a love/hate relationship with Halloween. The kids in their costumes are obviously a highlight for me, as is carving pumpkins (a simple but very pleasing sculpting medium). We also used to go to the All-Ivy Halloween Ball in Boston, which is a great party because everyone attending goes all-out with their costumes (no guys coming straight from work dressed up as "businessmen"). Needless to say, I love getting dressed up, especially if I can incorporate glittery fake eyelashes and/or a feather boa.
The "hate" part comes from having to deal with scary movie hell, exacerbated by the fact that this is now the second Halloween I'm spending alone (Mik had gone ahead to China by Halloween last year), in a big empty house equipped with a well house and a huge vault-style fridge embedded in the foundation. I normally deal with being alone quite well, except when I'm up, jetlagged and exhausted at 2 am trying to watch Law & Order reruns and having to shut my eyes and plug my ears, singing "lalalala" loudly every time an ad for one of the Halloween horror flicks comes on. In general, movies with phrases like "Chainsaw Massacre" or "Of the Dead" in the title are too comical to bother me; it's the more subtle freak-jobs-with-a-twist like Blair Witch, or those Grudge or Ring movies that send the prickles up my spine. Even if the movie has already proven to be a dud, they can still usually make the 30-second ad scary enough to make me pee my pants. I'm absolutely plagued by an overactive imagination, and when wide awake in the wee hours and seeded by these movie trailers, it doesn't take long for it to ask, "What's the absolute scariest, freakiest thing that could happen right now?" Disembodied faces appearing in a dark window, voices that might at any moment come from spare bedroom/attic/closet: I've now learned to consciously put the brakes on these thoughts before they snowball to the point where I have to get dressed and flee, terrified, to find a 24-hourr bookstore to sit in for a few hours in the middle of the night.
The irony is that it's a job that I would probably be good at: if I ever ran out of career options, I could probably make a decent living writing scripts for those freaky alien abduction/ I-see-dead-people miniseries that currently abound. When Mik and I go camping and hiking in remote locations, my response to a lonely, foggy valley or a deathly still night is "Oh my God, it's the beginning of an episode." Meaning, of course, the standard 2-minute teaser, in which all seems well, it's a romantic camping trip and the couple's cozily laughing and flirting, ladeedah, but oh, we need some firewood! Then the husband mysteriously disappears, there's a rustling in the bushes, the camera zooms to a close-up shot of the horrified expression on the girl's face, and then the theme song cues and the opening credits roll. I'm confident I could come up with more chilling plotlines than Mr. M. Night SeeItComingAMileAway, but then they'd probably have to set up a cot for me down at the Barnes & Noble.
The baby continues to be entertainingly active, kicking, squirming and rolling all over my belly; it's like having an alien invasion of my very own. For the life of me, I still can't distinguish one baby part from another, and my poking and prodding is kept in line by the thought that I might end up poking a little eye or squashing a little nose. Poor thing is probably jetlagged, too.
I was pretty achy and tired my first few days at home - the flight obviously took more out of me this time than it has in the past, and I'm glad this is my last round trip. My folks drove up from Virginia to keep me company over the weekend and to help out with any house/yard work that needed to be done, so that was a huge help, especially since I couldn't do much except park my butt on the couch. I tried to help out with some light leaf-bagging, which got me outside for a couple of hours, but in the end, the nasty pelvic bone pain got the best of me anyway. I'm still trying to sort out the triggers for the pain - walking, going up and down stairs, and sitting/lying in one position all seem to set it off equally well, which doesn't seem to leave much room to avoid it. Miraculously, though, shopping seems to be a pretty reliable cure…