Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Memory

As someone who is sitting at Cam's virtual Thanksgiving dinner table, I've chosen to post on a favorite holiday memory. She didn't specify which holiday, and so my memory will focus on my favorite holiday: Halloween. We're going all the way back to Halloween 1991. I was an unattached 27-year-old female, a fate not unlike being an orange argyle sock that comes out of the dryer without its mate, everyone frantically looking around for your match, afraid you're going to be rendered useless if it isn't found.

Every year in Stamford (and I'm sure this is probably a tradition that continues), the Irish Community Center opened its doors even to us English, as long as we were dressed in costume, for a big Halloween bash. This party had quite a reputation. One of my friends had met her fiance here. For some reason, despite the fact that it was somewhat of a Halloween ritual for so many of my friends, which meant it was the sort of party I tended to like, where I could just hang out in a corner with those I knew, I'd shied away from it the two previous years in which people had urged me to go.

This year, it seemed, nobody was going to let me get away with that, not even some good friends of mine who weren't part of this same crowd and who weren't going. This couple, dear friends of mine, to whom I should have paid rent, as much time as I spent in their home, were determined that I was going to go, wearing the coolest costume there, and that I was going to meet a new man. I think they were living vicariously through me, since they'd both been quite the party-goers in their day but were now settled down with their young daughter.

Because I whined that I couldn't think of anything cool to be and thus couldn't go, they jumped into action and decided I was going to be a tree. And I will tell you, it really was a cool costume. I wore brown tights for my "trunk," a long, dark green tunic, and we went out and collected beautiful fall leaves that we attached all over the tunic. We also attached branches on a headband to my head. I set off for the party with my friend Kathy, who, being a Trekkie, had her Spock ears and nothing else to indicate she had a costume. Soon, we were surrounded by other friends, requisite beer bottles in our hands, and Kathy (who always did so) was attracting boys like bees to honey. One cute guy, however, headed our way and started talking to me. I figured he was just warming up, trying to get up the courage to talk to her, but then he asked me to dance. And we ended up dancing all night long.

You won't believe this. He was an arborist. His job was to take care of potted trees in office buildings all around Fairfield County. Needless to say, he liked my costume. When the party ended, we walked out together, and I was thinking the night was almost over, but it had only just begun. As we passed the parking lot where he'd parked his little Nissan truck, heading to my car, he realized that his truck wasn't there. Turns out he had parked in a tow away zone. I don't remember exactly what happened next here (this was in the days before cell phones were prominent), but together, we somehow managed to find a phone and track down the location of his truck, and I drove him to the lot where he retrieved it. (I also have no idea what happened to Kathy. She must have gotten a ride home with one of her many male admirers.) I do remember that he referred to me as an "angel" who had saved him from wandering around in the streets that night, since all his friends had already left before he'd realized he had no wheels. Anyway, by the time we'd retrieved his truck, it was so late, it was early, which meant it was time for breakfast at the local diner, after which he asked for my phone number and called me before the weekend was up.

It didn't last. Not only did he take care of potted trees in office buildings, he also took care of certain potted plants in his own home, and he had more of an affinity for the effects of those plants than he did for me (or anything, really). However, it was a fun fling. He drove a motorcycle, and I loved riding that with him. He played drums in a very cool band, and I liked following that band around. We had a fabulous and fun New Year's Eve together, and then we both just sort of stopped calling each other. I soon met someone else through another well-meaning matchmaker, because well, by now, I was a 28-year-old unattached female.

But for one night, I was a tree, and a cute "bad boy" called me an "angel." Who wouldn't have fond memories of that holiday night?


Eva said...

What a fun story!! :)

Cam said...

I once went to a costume party as a Christmas tree, complete with lights that I had to plug in. Of course, I got lost on the way to the party & had to stop at a gas station and ask directions. It wasn't Halloween, so you can imagine what strange looks I got! Your tree costume sounds cute!

litlove said...

What a lovely story! No pictures of you as a tree still survive, I suppose? Well, it was worth an ask.

stefanie said...

What a great story!

Emily Barton said...

Eva and Stef, thanks!

Cam, that's hilarious! (Much better than my story.)

Litlove, you know I began to wonder if I could drag up some pictures while I was writing it, but then I got too lazy. (Have no idea where to look.) When I tackle the attic in the new year, though, I will keep an eye out.

Anonymous said...

That's a great story.