Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween or, as New Yorkers Call It, "Wednesday"

I was walking to the train this morning without a thought about Halloween when I suddenly saw a grown woman dressed as a bumblebee pushing a stroller in my direction. As she passed, I could see that her months-old baby was squeezed into a velvety bee costume of his/her own. It was cute. It was also clear that it had been done for the entertainment of the mother, not the baby, which looked like it was still working out the whole "seeing the clear edges of objects" things, and hadn't really advanced to the "appreciating pagan holidays" phase of this glorious thing we call life.

It's always good to have a clear, early reminder of Halloween like that in New York. It's a city, after all, that presents quite a challenge if you want to make a visual impression. I met a friend for lunch near Wall Street, and passed an exceedingly muscular guy wearing some variation of a hockey mask and a comically thick chain around his chest and shoulders, like a parachute strap. In most places on Earth, one's first thought upon seeing that in a financial district at noon on a crisp fall day, would be, "Hey, must be Halloween." My first thought was, "Run!," followed closely by, "Oh, right, that woman in the bee costume; it's Halloween."

Some people make it very clear, of course. In the Union Square subway station tonight, I passed three friends dressed as a vampire, Wonder Woman, and Batman. Easy. But close behind them was a male walking alone, wearing camouflage pants and a standard-issue military helmet. And I have to say, I have no idea if that guy even knows it's Halloween.

(Come to think of it, this post from a few days ago speaks nicely to the point.)

To the rest of you, I hope your day's been more treat than trick:


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