American Holidays

I have two friends that have been teaching me about life in America.  I imagine that this isn’t a planned thing but last year I spent the 4th of July with them and went to a demolition derby and this year I visited over Hallowe’en.

Children really do go trick or treating.  They dress up, go out walking around the streets, and come back with bags of candy.  I’m not really sure if there is any actual tricking, as all I saw was treating, but it looked like fun.  Well, it did until the only thing I could think of was a dreadful horror movie I had watched as a child that had something to do with Hallowe’en masks and the killing of children. But back to the fun things…

My friends turned their porch into a pirate ship (I kid you not) and filled a chest full of candy treasure.  I dressed up as a wench and stood back and watched as the children looked amazed at the chilling effects that can be made by good lighting, a smoke machine, and several well positioned skeletons.

This was not my only Hallowe’en event as I also attended the first Hallowe’en costume party I’ve been to since I was about 12.  I can still remember that party as it was fairly unusual for us to do anything like that at Hallowe’en.  The church I belonged thought that dressing up as vampires and witches was evil.  But for whatever reason that year someone thought it would be fun to let us dress up.  And it was.  I spent hours on my make-up and remember looking fairly horrific.

This time I also spent quite a bit of time on my make-up as I wanted to look suitably dead.  I also discovered that a veil is a wonderful thing for hiding the lines on my face, but not an overly practical one.  It makes it incredibly hard to eat or drink.  It’s also surprisingly hot to dance in.

Vampire Bride

Vampire Bride

In New York

I imagine that Manhattan looks amazing if you manage to look up and see the city.  But when I’m walking through the streets I have to constantly watch my feet.  The pavements are uneven and crowded with people who don’t appear to be paying attention to where they are going.  Today I nearly lost my footing when someone pushed their bag into the back of my knees.  I spent time dodging the tobacco smoke and the ash that gets flicked my way from the people who walk and smoke.  I had to navigate road works and building works.  And of course you have to avoid the cars and taxis that drive at you even when you have right of way on a crossing.

And then there is the noise.  The constant honking of car horns, the blaring of sirens, the construction at the World Trade site, and the yelling people.  And the people here yell all the time.  I accidentally knocked into a man in the supermarket and he turned and screamed into my face whilst I was apologizing.  People who are walking by themselves will be yelling into their phones or their blue-tooth headsets.  I met Marty for lunch today but we didn’t talk much.  He couldn’t hear me in the restaurant and I didn’t feel like shouting through lunch.  I’ve always thought that people from New York talked loudly and now I know why, you almost need to scream to be heard.

But despite the noise, the smells, and the chaos on the streets, this is a city I could grow to love.