Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

...And, on cold, lonely nights like this one, if you listen carefully . . . you can still hear my uncle's wife complaining.

My uncle absolutely could not stay at home for Halloween, giving out treats to the scores of children that don't even live in the neighborhood, but had been brought to his block by sus padres to partake of free candy. No, to Uncle John, Halloween is a special day. Knowing that I feel the same, he came over and forced me to go out with him, trying to find some activity for the Greatest Night of the Year.

I was a bit melancholy, and was fine to spend the evening in front of the computer, listening to Echo & The Bunnymen until the cyanide took its toll, but he said we were going out--him, his child bride, and me--to find something fun, whether it was the "haunted" trainride, or a "haunted" house, or a "haunted" corn maze, or just driving around listening to Katy Perry and Ke$ha on the world's worst radio station.

So, we loaded into his car and began the latter activity, trying to decide what to do. Child Bride complained that it was getting late, and that everything we'd suggested sounded lame, especially the trainride, which is what John and I were leaning toward. John is too big (and apt to punch someone) for us to go on one of those haunted mazes or spook houses, and I don't want to ever go in one again unless a skittish female is by my side. We drove out of town toward the train station, but Child Bride complained that they didn't have the money for that sort of thing. That's probably true, since John is really hurting for money, to the point where he borrowed Halloween decorations from me to put in front of his house, and instead of giving children candy, he'd let each of them look in his young wife's underwear drawer.But I remembered that a local theatre troupe was performing an adaptation of "Dracula" up at the old mental hospital, and when I mentioned it to John, he proclaimed it the greatest suggestion of all time. He practically wrenched the wheel, speeding through town toward it.

We parked and went all the way up a hill on foot, which Child Bride complained was difficult to do in her Batgirl costume, more than an hour before the show was scheduled to start. Trouble is, it was sold out. Child Bride complained, not wanting to see a dumb old play. But John really wanted to, so we got on the Stand-By list. Child Bride needed to be explained what Stand-By means, and complained that it was like gambling.

Then we sat down and waited. There were a few names ahead of us on the Stand-By list, but if people didn't show up, we'd probably get in. We were outdoors, and it had been raining that day, and Child Bride complained that it was cold. And you know, she totally had a point on that one, but I thought that because it was bad weather, that might mean people wouldn't show up to see the play and we'd get in. Child Bride complained that we had to wait nearly an hour to get in (if we got in). That too is a valid complaint, I suppose, but John put his arm around her and tried to keep her warm, and got out his i-phone and brought up a video game that he put on there for his daughter, to keep Child Bride occupied.

Which reminds me, to provide mood and atmosphere while people waited to get into the play, there was a violinist dressed as a European peasant who played Romanian/Russian/Transylvanian/Elfman-type music on the instrument. It might have been a fiddle, I don't know, but Child Bride complained that he wasn't very good. John and I felt the opposite, though, and thought that it provided creepy entertainment while we waited. I still think it was a brilliant thing for the troupe to do.

The doors opened for seating to begin. All of us stood up. Child Bride complained that we weren't going to get in, and her words were prophetic, as the crowd there was immense. All these young people wanted to see the performance, and only about two-thirds of them had tickets. Soon, the only people left outside of the building were the Stand-Byers. A couple of them (whose names were lower on the list than us) were from New Jersey (this is something they boasted, not me inferring they were because they were loud and unpleasant) and demanded to be put higher on the list. They offered to bribe the floor manager, and he declined. She took out her cellphone to show him that it was past time for the show to start, and he shouldn't wait for any more people to come with tickets, but should start letting us in. He said he was going to give people five more minutes (which makes sense, since they already paid for seats, and the show wouldn't start until he closed the doors), and then he'd go down the list. Finally, the woman said, "We'd bettah get in, 'cause I'm gonna go all kinds of crazy if we don't get in."

Child Bride complained that we weren't going to get in again, when it was the perfect opportunity to complain about people from New Jersey, or how loud that woman was talking. Missed opportunities, I guess.

And speaking of which, when he started to finally allow Stand-Bys to get in, there were only five seats left. Uncle John asked if there was standing room, or if we could sit on laps (seriously, he suggested this), and the manager said the fire marshal wouldn't allow standing room, and that it was packed in there as it was. He told us that the show was only an hour long (which really seemed to offend Child Bride), and if we wanted to wait another hour, he'd put us at the top of the list for the midnight show. Child Bride complained that that was too late, and they had to be up early for church the next day. I offered to stay there while John took Child Bride home, and the two of us could go, since she didn't really want to go anyway.

Child Bride complained, and John declined. So we walked all the way back down the hill and to John's car. Child Bride complained about the wasted evening, and again, she probably had a point. In all honesty, had I thought about getting tickets to "Dracula" earlier, I could've gotten them in advance, or driven up right after work to see if they were sold out or not, or gotten us to the top of the Stand-By list by suggesting we go over two hours early, but I didn't think about it, since my sister was supposed to come over, and I was bummed not to be able to take my nephew trick or treating.

I honestly couldn't have predicted that John would want to go see "Dracula," or that he wouldn't already have a planned activity he was going to force the rest of us to go on.* But I also couldn't have predicted that Child Bride would be so determined to make us miserable by pointing out how unhappy she was with the whole night. John had explained that Halloween had never been important in her family (heck, maybe it had been seen as an evil thing, like my cousin Ryan's parents had decreed, and felt guilty about all the celebrating going on), and that he had done all he could to get her excited about it, but that she didn't understand. Which does not surprise me.

John was hungry, so we went to Denny's to eat dinner. It was packed with mostly-costumed denizens, and the service took fully forever. Immortal beings would've complained how long it took for us to get our food. But . . . and this is no joke, Child Bride did not.

Rish Samhain Outfield

*When John first married Child Bride, he planned a Halloween night activity involving me and my sister and her new husband, wherein we went on a "spooky" boat ride. It was a really low-tech trip down about fifty yards of water, and we both complained that it could have been so much better (basically, it was intended for kids, when it might have been more successful had it been targeted at the horny teenager and hand-on-breast college student crowd, who would've enjoyed a good grope under the guise of being scared by noises and lights and music and atmosphere). With almost no more money, but just a bit more thought, the ferryman could've told creepy stories or pretended we were in danger, or just played theramin music and let our imaginations help get us in the mood. Maybe, if I'm around in twenty years, I'll do something like that. Maybe.

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