CLVII. A Casual, Causal Affair -      *Note: Written yesterday.     Today
 is Halloween. I think I’m going to dress as myself, as an off-duty, 
university sweats-dressed, model. I think I’d like to complete my get-up
 with my slouchy knitted pom pom beanie. The weather certainly calls for
 it.    
You could have been a model, my father said. I scoffed. You could have 
modeled- you were perfect: flawless skin, a lean, athletic and yet 
feminine frame.

Now I can pretend to be a model since I’m not her anymore. At least not 
yet.   

I was always a witch.  Out of competitiveness in the academic arena for as long as I could remember, I was, and continue to be, power hungry. I indulged in the concept of supernatural witchcraft. To exercise power by using intellectually crafted language via spells, a form of writing, was right up my alley. I thought that the idea of using chemistry to create potions and tonics was so stunningly cerebral. And the popular Steven Spielberg produced television series, Charmed, appealed to my young girl hood. I lived vicariously through those on-screen characters who were so fashionable. They were three sisters and I only knew of brothers.    
I went into a Long Island Target last week with my parents after 
convincing them to join me in shedding off these past years of stress, 
anxiety, and constant obsessing. That which is life. I wanted to embrace
 the autumnal spirit spearheaded by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.    

I purposely prefaced “Target” with “Long Island” because the geographic 
location of a franchise is directly correlated to the inventory they 
carry. Keep this in mind.    
In years past, my mother would voluntarily escort a large group of my 
friends from the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating.

There was the guy across the street and a little down the way who gave 
out King-sized candy bars. There were the South Indian Christians, 
parents to Freddy and Bobby (cousins) who bonded with my two male 
cousins and brother, a couple of houses down. Their house was directly 
across the street from The King.
Their parents would open their own respective doors since they lived in 
separate spaces within a two-family house. Without fail, both sets of 
parents were dressed in sleepwear. The mothers were dressed in 
floor-length Victorian-like nightgowns. The fathers wore pajama sets: 
V-neck button down shirt over wide-leg pants. They always gave us money-
 mostly change and sometimes bills.

There was the house around the block that although a tad bit creepy, 
housed a warm- hearted , now faceless and gender-less person who handed out snack-sized chips of all kinds.    There
 was the house that gave out the candy-apples in either a caramel-nut 
combo or a jelly-coconut flaked duo, and then there were the houses that
 gave out the most economical treats: the minis. 
We knew who were most likely to be our proxy parents, those money 
conscious job-going adults who empathized with kids enough to hand out a
 notch above those 25-cent machine hard candies and to buy brand-named 
favorites like Skittles, m&ms, Hershey’s, Whoppers, and Nestle 
varieties.
We were privy to those house dwellers who were handing out old-school 
brands to the candies for which our generation lost the taste for: 
tootsie rolls (both the lollipops and chewy bow-tie wrapped 
caramel-cocoa concoctions), and Mary Jane peanut brittle.
We knew who felt bored enough to not mind being bothered with 
trick-or-treaters but who were also dismal failures in our assessment, 
surpassing mediocrity because they opted for those hard-as-a-rock yet 
colorful candies, including those off-holiday sugary hearts neatly lined
 up in a row so reminiscent of the chemical chains that make up their 
composition. These were the bulk candies, those that filled up our bags 
and that our parents disposed of first.

And then there were the incompetent: those house-sitters who dared to 
sprinkle loose, not packaged candy corn and other such items made for 
social consumption indoors. Even prior to the anthrax scare of the early
 2000s, these treats were not disposed of by parents, but instead 
littered in the streets immediately after being received.    Suddenly
 the leaf-strewn blocks in my village- believe it or not, where I live 
is a village by definition, became a makeshift Candy Land game board.

Back in Target:

I had to forgo hiking, farm gallivanting, apple picking, and pumpkin 
consuming (self-imposed), due to my anorexia.    That being 
said, I was on a mission to part-take in the fall activity I could 
actually participate in since it was home-based- doling out treats to 
costumed children.

Always predisposed to creativity - let’s just say I favored Barney over 
Sesame Street - I wanted to part take in a Do-It-Yourself project. I 
wanted to make goodie bags with anything but your run of the mill 
treats. I wanted to put healthy snacks in them, not crap.  

In Target, there was an entire aisle dedicated to healthy and organic 
treats to hand out for Halloween, including balanced fats, protein, and 
carb combinations housed into little bunny rabbits and goldfish shapes. 
They were, of course, three times the price of the adjacent 4 aisles 
that had your go-to Halloween favorites.

As I wandered into the lone organic aisle,  a recovering anorexic, my 
parents’ speechless balking was palpable. 
Parsimonious person that I am, I thought, “I already have so many 
expenses what with eminent weddings, grad school loans, a new house and I
 don’t have children yet. Why should I spend money on the few and far 
between trick-or- treaters ? Why should I push my ethos on anyone else?”
So I settled for pretzel packages.    
My father then said, “Kids like chocolate.”
I had a flashback of myself, separating the solid chocolate from the rest of the candy.
My mother said, “They’re just going to throw the pretzels out and it will be a waste of money anyway.”
I saw myself throwing away all the treats I did not care for. She had a point and I did not want our money spent for naught.    We
 bought a large bag of favorite chocolate items. This bag was not as 
expensive as Annie’s Organic Bunnies, but was the priciest among the 
regular confectionery options: Cookies in Cream Hershey’s white 
chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a regular Hershey’s bar, and 
Whoppers. This selection epitomized a good Halloween when I was growing 
up.    This year we kept our door open and the lights on for a 
full two hours before closing them and locking up as we used to. Only 
some children came by: Less than 10 said, “Trick or Treat,” and even 
less were dressed up.    We have a metal mixing bowl filled with
 the leftover chocolate at the foot of our stairs. I dare not venture 
down those stairs lest more of the cold air that seeps from the gap 
underneath the door touches my skin. I dare not venture down those 
stairs, far too early to venture out before I embark on the first day of
 my first job of my life, of my career.  I am one flight up and I think it best to keep climbing.

CLVII. A Casual, Causal Affair -

*Note: Written yesterday.

Today is Halloween. I think I’m going to dress as myself, as an off-duty, university sweats-dressed, model. I think I’d like to complete my get-up with my slouchy knitted pom pom beanie. The weather certainly calls for it.

You could have been a model, my father said. I scoffed. You could have modeled- you were perfect: flawless skin, a lean, athletic and yet feminine frame. Now I can pretend to be a model since I’m not her anymore. At least not yet.

I was always a witch.
Out of competitiveness in the academic arena for as long as I could remember, I was, and continue to be, power hungry. I indulged in the concept of supernatural witchcraft. To exercise power by using intellectually crafted language via spells, a form of writing, was right up my alley. I thought that the idea of using chemistry to create potions and tonics was so stunningly cerebral. And the popular Steven Spielberg produced television series, Charmed, appealed to my young girl hood. I lived vicariously through those on-screen characters who were so fashionable. They were three sisters and I only knew of brothers.

I went into a Long Island Target last week with my parents after convincing them to join me in shedding off these past years of stress, anxiety, and constant obsessing. That which is life. I wanted to embrace the autumnal spirit spearheaded by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I purposely prefaced “Target” with “Long Island” because the geographic location of a franchise is directly correlated to the inventory they carry. Keep this in mind.

In years past, my mother would voluntarily escort a large group of my friends from the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. There was the guy across the street and a little down the way who gave out King-sized candy bars. There were the South Indian Christians, parents to Freddy and Bobby (cousins) who bonded with my two male cousins and brother, a couple of houses down. Their house was directly across the street from The King. Their parents would open their own respective doors since they lived in separate spaces within a two-family house. Without fail, both sets of parents were dressed in sleepwear. The mothers were dressed in floor-length Victorian-like nightgowns. The fathers wore pajama sets: V-neck button down shirt over wide-leg pants. They always gave us money- mostly change and sometimes bills. There was the house around the block that although a tad bit creepy, housed a warm-hearted, now faceless and gender-less person who handed out snack-sized chips of all kinds.

There was the house that gave out the candy-apples in either a caramel-nut combo or a jelly-coconut flaked duo, and then there were the houses that gave out the most economical treats: the minis. We knew who were most likely to be our proxy parents, those money conscious job-going adults who empathized with kids enough to hand out a notch above those 25-cent machine hard candies and to buy brand-named favorites like Skittles, m&ms, Hershey’s, Whoppers, and Nestle varieties. We were privy to those house dwellers who were handing out old-school brands to the candies for which our generation lost the taste for: tootsie rolls (both the lollipops and chewy bow-tie wrapped caramel-cocoa concoctions), and Mary Jane peanut brittle. We knew who felt bored enough to not mind being bothered with trick-or-treaters but who were also dismal failures in our assessment, surpassing mediocrity because they opted for those hard-as-a-rock yet colorful candies, including those off-holiday sugary hearts neatly lined up in a row so reminiscent of the chemical chains that make up their composition. These were the bulk candies, those that filled up our bags and that our parents disposed of first. And then there were the incompetent: those house-sitters who dared to sprinkle loose, not packaged candy corn and other such items made for social consumption indoors. Even prior to the anthrax scare of the early 2000s, these treats were not disposed of by parents, but instead littered in the streets immediately after being received.

Suddenly the leaf-strewn blocks in my village- believe it or not, where I live is a village by definition, became a makeshift Candy Land game board. Back in Target: I had to forgo hiking, farm gallivanting, apple picking, and pumpkin consuming (self-imposed), due to my anorexia.

That being said, I was on a mission to part-take in the fall activity I could actually participate in since it was home-based- doling out treats to costumed children. Always predisposed to creativity - let’s just say I favored Barney over Sesame Street - I wanted to part take in a Do-It-Yourself project. I wanted to make goodie bags with anything but your run of the mill treats. I wanted to put healthy snacks in them, not crap.

In Target, there was an entire aisle dedicated to healthy and organic treats to hand out for Halloween, including balanced fats, protein, and carb combinations housed into little bunny rabbits and goldfish shapes. They were, of course, three times the price of the adjacent 4 aisles that had your go-to Halloween favorites. As I wandered into the lone organic aisle,  a recovering anorexic, my parents’ speechless balking was palpable. Parsimonious person that I am, I thought, “I already have so many expenses what with eminent weddings, grad school loans, a new house and I don’t have children yet. Why should I spend money on the few and far between trick-or-treaters? Why should I push my ethos on anyone else?” So I settled for pretzel packages.

My father then said, “Kids like chocolate.” I had a flashback of myself, separating the solid chocolate from the rest of the candy. My mother said, “They’re just going to throw the pretzels out and it will be a waste of money anyway.” I saw myself throwing away all the treats I did not care for. She had a point and I did not want our money spent for naught.

We bought a large bag of favorite chocolate items. This bag was not as expensive as Annie’s Organic Bunnies, but was the priciest among the regular confectionery options: Cookies in Cream Hershey’s white chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a regular Hershey’s bar, and Whoppers. This selection epitomized a good Halloween when I was growing up.

This year we kept our door open and the lights on for a full two hours before closing them and locking up as we used to. Only some children came by: Less than 10 said, “Trick or Treat,” and even less were dressed up.

We have a metal mixing bowl filled with the leftover chocolate at the foot of our stairs. I dare not venture down those stairs lest more of the cold air that seeps from the gap underneath the door touches my skin. I dare not venture down those stairs, far too early to venture out before I embark on the first day of my first job of my life, of my career.

I am one flight up and I think it best to keep climbing.