I'm not a big fan of the big holidays-- the ones rooted in Paganism and co-opted by the marketing whizzes of Christianity. But I'm getting less militant about that whole mess the older I get. Plus there are some holidays that I am pretty down with-- St. Patty's Day (less so since I gave up tossing 'em back), International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Knit in Public Day, that sort of thing.
As for the recently passed Halloween-- I like Halloween just fine. I don't have the same sort of nightmarish childhood memories about that one as I do, say, Christmas. My mom always made us really cool costumes, a tradition I carried on for Henry. And even though Henry is all grown up now, I still love shoveling mini-Snickers and Reeses Cups into my piehole. I also get a kick out of handing out candy (a kick that is not without cynicism when, as happens often enough, the Trick or Treater appears to be badly in need of a shave and/or an underwire brassiere.) Since I moved over to the hood, on a busy thoroughfare with no sidewalks, I have to borrow other people's houses if I want to be part of the fun.
This year, as last, I invited myself over to Garreth and Mary's house. That way, they could take their kids out T-O-Ting and I could hold down the fort. I decided to wear a costume-- in fact, a costume given to me years ago by G & M, a big banana suit that I have gotten way more mileage out of than any bridesmaid dress I ever owned.
In fact, a few nights before Halloween proper, I went to a big Halloween party at the W and also wore the banana costume. Please note: I am not a W Hanger Outter type but I had some generous friends offer me a ticket. It was my first time to that palace of falling glass and the food was great and the mood festive. But what I liked best of all was an unplanned (are they ever planned?) moment of Zen.
The thing is, I have a lot of social anxiety. Way more than anyone would ever guess who has seen me onstage or running my mouth at a dinner party. I mostly stay home, in bed with the dogs or arguing with Warren over the right way to open and close the refrigerator-- these places/activities defining for me "comfort zone." Going out into a crowd makes me squirm. But I put myself out there for this party and because I did, I realized something pretty quick: Hanging out at a party is WAY easier when you are dressed like a banana. Everywhere you turn, people light up. (One guy said to me, "Are you a banana?" And I said, "No, I'm just happy to see you!")
I also realized that when I am not a banana it is really easy to inhabit the skin I grew up with. That is the skin of defense and judgmentalism and a bunch of other fear-rooted shit. It's a skin that I have worked very hard to shed over the years (thank you yoga, meditation, and therapy). And it's a skin so utterly familiar to me that even when I manage to leave it behind, I just sometimes want to slip back into it.
But it is very hard to be judgmental when you are a banana. It is damn near impossible to be angry. And when you-- as I did a few nights after the big W party-- swing open a front door and yell surprise to a bunch of unsuspecting little kids, and when they see a banana at the door, it just gets more and more fun.
After we ran out of treats, I wandered around the streets of my beloved Mueller, taking in the action. As I strolled, I heard kids say excitedly to their parents, "Look, a banana!" And then, behind me, I heard a deep man's voice say, "I'm hungry! I want to eat a banana."
This proclamation momentarily sidelined my joy. I thought, "Great, a fucking pervert." But I regained my inner banana sense of balance, gave him the benefit of the doubt, swung around to take a peek and... no shit, I came face to face with A GORILLA ON A SEGWAY! And ANOTHER BANANA! Truly a moment to remember.
Thank you banana suit.
Thank you other banana.
Thank you gorilla on a Segway.
The firm fruit in me bows to the firm fruit in you.