November 2nd, 2020 6:40am pst

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Holiday

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"Halloween. Current era. That means less going on in the neighborhood, but no less in my head. I recall moving into a townhouse in ninety-seven. Almost no knocking at the door on this night. Four years we lived there, and during those holidays only a handful came for candy. We still enjoyed the night, though. Her son lived with us and was a teenager, yet still he was full of the spirit. I broadcasted spooky music as he lit candles and readied our porch for the kids. Not many, but some. He and I soaked up the smiles. Upon moving south into a park off the beaten path, the smiles diminished for three years as I realized the nighttime escapades were growing thin. We were far enough away from the main streets for parents to avoid heading there. Three years. The only Halloween stuff was either in the stores or on the television. Nothing near or at home. I began to feel that the holiday had disappeared.

Upon hearing that the property was threatening to be developed, we had to vacate the park and move across town into a newer apartment. Like the previous move, we had relocated in early November. Nearly a year after storing our trailer and settling into the fairly plush apartment, the holiday came around again, that time with a single knock all night. No decorations, music, nothing. One knock from our downstairs neighbor and their daughter in costume. I was about to give up on one of my favorite nights of the year. I felt that it had slipped away, or perhaps I let it go. Either way, the wonder and excitement of Halloween seemed to have changed for good. Not happy.

Our second October in the apartment. My partner saw the sadness in my eyes and decided that we needed to take a walk a little ways from home and into a more traditional neighborhood for a little while. We took off, strolled around the school, and wandered into an area with a combination of townhouses and single homes. From the far side of the schoolyard I spied the activity on that Halloween and saw scenes which had been absent for years. Children in costumes, pumpkins, candles, and colored lighting all over the neighborhood. I saw the past. Until that evening I had thought everything was done and gone, but right there across the way was all of the scenery I missed for so long. Tears of happiness. Now let us go forward one more year.

We finally moved from a place of rent and into a house we owned. Again, the move was near the end of that year, just after Thanksgiving. I had to wait most of the following year to see if the new place would be anything like that area near our apartment. Even more. I dragged out the tiki torches, candles, and placed a red bulb in the porch fixture for mood. Scary music again, just like years earlier when I had begun to lose faith. I realized the holiday was alive and well. Our street was full of children walking from house to house and marveling at the wonder of a scary night. I loved it. Three such holidays were all I experienced in that house before taking the worst left turn imaginable and moving away from the life I knew for well over a decade. Again there were two Halloweens in which I was alone and sad, and again I calculated that there would no longer be enjoyment. Cut to this house and the enjoyment returned. A street with plenty of families and children. Knocks at the door for hours. Music, decorations, and lighting all over the place. Well, this year we left the porch dark and remained inside. I saw some families strolling along and knocking at the houses which displayed light, but we avoided it for safety. Ugh. Halloween night is but a short period... A few hours and it is all over. This morning I see the light coming up an hour earlier due to the time change, and realize for the fourth time that a year ago may have been my last enjoyable Halloween. I don't like to think in such terms, but I do not see it. Not now. Too down.



1



The clock went back an hour at two this morning. Splendid. The very outset of the best two months of the year, and I can't even enjoy it. I'll be heading over to watch the game in a few hours -- so long as my head doesn't come apart in the process -- and I am beginning to feel that the end of pro football this year will be the end of my life. There is little else, and nothing so dramatic going on inside me other than lost holidays. And yes, you already know the four years of wonderful family parties and those same holidays glowing brighter than I had ever thought possible are right behind my eyes these days... Especially this morning. Halloween is precious and short-lived. Just a few hours. Every single year in which I have been unable to do anything special for such a night brings feelings of dread the following morning. This year is no different, and when combined with the clock going back I am at the greatest loss in years.

I've always had an aversion to sunshine since growing to dislike hot weather nearly thirty years ago, and turning back the clock always represented my peak of the year. It meant the daylight shifted enough to bring the sun down earlier and left me with cooler evenings, and when combined with the daylight duration shortening by more than a minute per day, the sum was joy for yours truly, and Halloween was the kickoff. One of our misguided presidents moved daylight savings time by extending it a few weeks twice a year, and that pushed Halloween into the shift. The sun has not been setting as early as before the powers that be decided to move the day of the clock. This year? I am sitting here the morning after Halloween and today is the very change. This year the holiday is shit anyway due to the pandemic, but still... I need it. Hopefully I will be here to see if anything improves for next year. I don't know, but maybe.



2



I recall nearly three decades back when my partner worked in the city. She received an invitation for herself and a guest to attend a Halloween party near Sunset. I was nervous about dressing as Peter Pan and showing up at a party full of gay men, but did it anyway. We played games, had some good food and a little to drink (I hardly drank alcohol at all back then). The entire evening was fantastic, from the costumes to the decorations and on to the Halloween music. I loved it and the trepidation over wearing tights within such a crowd went away upon learning that they were very nice people. No bullshit, just pleasant. Afterward when we took the long drive home, I thought the idea of a Halloween costume party had been missing from my life for a very long time and was overjoyed in having attended. That night changed my idea of what a holiday party was.

Decades later at the bar, tons of decorations and a dark theme dictated the look year after year. We've gone to that epic party more than once, but this year it could not take place, unfortunately, due to restrictions. I'm sure many were disappointed as much as me. I do not see others and costumes the way I did thirty years ago, but still the party has always been enjoyable. Along those lines, if the night of the Halloween festivities did not fall directly on the holiday, we would stay home and hand out candy to the kids. Sometimes outside, and other times we remained inside. This year I have colored lighting all over the inside of the garage -- one of the fixtures repaired just yesterday in case the night went as I had hoped -- and the idea was to put on the scary sounds again and don a mask to respond to the kids. Nope. At the last minute and due to dinner being in process, nothing took place. I killed the porch light and kept the inside dim so as to dissuade anyone from coming to the door. Now I am full of disappointment and guilt over not involving myself in such a unique night. There is the light over my right shoulder increasing as the clock turns, and seeing the light is an indication that I missed out last night. I made a conscious choice to not be involved and now I feel like shit. I am supposed to be one of those people who drives to keep the holidays alive and I let not only myself down, but anyone who may have come to the door. This is terrible and there is not a fucking thing I can do about it. The bar party did not happen, our house was uncaring, and this morning the fucking clock went back and effectively reminded me for the tenth time that the good years are long gone. I am still trying, but there is little hope in me.

Now what is supposed to happen? What do I do?



3



I still think of that first big party so long ago, every fucking year. The decor and feel of the house was beyond expectations, and wondrous like nothing I had experienced before. The bar parties were along the same lines, too, and helped me to enjoy the holiday each year. This year? None of it, although everything may return twelve months from now. I have no idea what the world will be like after another year. All I can do is hope, but as I have said on this site for many weeks, my hope is diminishing.

Already there are holiday movies on the Hallmark channel. I am not watching for the visions, though. I tuned in for lack of any other decent programming. I had been watching 'Backdraft', but alas it went bad like so many other movies these days. I'm all fucked up. Football in a matter of hours. I hope I make it.

This time of year typically helped me to keep my head up during work. Some of the jobs were pretty tough, making time off that much more comfortable and inspiring. The party at the bar, handing out candy, and then trying to plan either a nice Thanksgiving dinner or taking our yearly trip to the high country all added up to huge upsides while I toiled the days away doing work which was slowly wearing me down inside. Fall and winter usually meant less work, too. More days off to enjoy the leaves falling and cooler weather along with lighting the fireplace during dinner kept my head out of the ground. I can still do some of it, although these days the resources are so thin that any enjoyable shopping will be at a minimum. That just sucks out loud. I made the decision to leave the work behind and look for something else, but did not realize how tough such a change could be in my mid-fifties. The gradient between work and time off to enjoy the fall is now gone. I am here all the time, thinking. Little of it is good anymore.

Big, doe eyes on the television. She doesn't matter, but the decorations do.

Sunday means business before football. I am hoping to get some things completed before heading out to watch the game and have lunch. I took a few steps yesterday to get a head start, too. That is good. Once the coffee is gone I will quietly further my chores to make way for the second half of the day. This is the eighth week of football, as well. Nearly halfway finished. I don't know what that means anymore. Nothing is like it was, or perhaps I am very different and do not view anything the same as I once did. Not sure. The certainty is a lack of happiness in almost everything. The chores take up some of my time, and I am finding that the feeling of working on things is now more satisfying than completion. The kitchen, for example. When I turn on the television in there and put my show in the background, I feel that I am where I should be. It's my little world for a while. Once my daily work is finished, though, the emptiness sets in and I don't know what to do. Yesterday's trip to the garage for organization went south within an hour. I returned to the house and stood like always, wondering what to do. We had to go out for gas and to pick up a few necessities, and then upon returning home I could not move in any direction other than pouring a drink and sliding onto the sofa. A little while later I began dinner and that was pretty much the end of the day. No kids at the door, quiet house, and an episode of the show we've been following while eating.

I don't know what happened to me. If it is the lack of work, there may not be much choice anymore. The end of the year will arrive no matter what happens. That line is frightening right now. I've never been happy to see the calendar change from my favorite time of year to the long uphill leading to fall again, but this year is different. Older, less motivated, and running out of reasons to do anything. That is where I am right now. The second of January cannot be avoided and I've always lived through the passing, but this time I may not survive at all.



4



Many entries have displayed the phrase, 'something has to happen'. Well, I know the truth of that, and it is nothing insane. The fact is the statement is in error. Nothing is going to happen unless I draw a line and force the issue. I've done it in the past, too. My confidence is at an all-time low right now, however. If I am to do anything, I must first believe that I am ABLE to raise my head enough to push. Believe me when I say that for the past several days I have been considering making a decent-sized change to get some sort of ball rolling and boost myself enough for more of the same. Again, I've done it before. I am no weaker these days, just worried. If the worry comes to a head, one of two things will occur. The first is my pushing into new territory and looking up rather than to the side or rear. I already know of the benefits.

Don't ask about the second. Not good."



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