Thursday, November 3, 2011
In most ways this Halloween was completely conventional. Throughout the day on October 28th, a Friday, I dithered about what kind of costume I would wear and hadn't made a decision by the following morning. On Saturday afternoon, hours before the party I was attending, I threw together a lamentably pathetic ensemble and then on Saturday night drank entirely too much and passed out before anyone else.
All of those things were normal.
What wasn't normal, however, was the glorious surprise we received on October 29th: snow.
As I've mentioned before, Major University is particularly beautiful during the brief moment when summer is rusting into frost.
Autumns here are replete with skies of deep navy blue, grasses grown a darker green, and trees whose golden and amber ornaments glitter like dancing flames when illuminated by warm sunshine. I love these things but have long cast jealous eyes to the bloggers of the North.
This year, this one time at least, I beat them to the punch.
It wasn't a lot of snow, of course, and none of it stuck to the ground, but for October 29th in Southern State it was cause enough for celebration. I squealed with shocked happiness when I looked outside and saw the flakes coming down, then hurried out to enjoy the event.
Up until this point I'd wanted an October snow forever. I hope every year for it to happen, and occasionally I've even had dreams about it (these usually involve my frolicking with exaggerated happiness through a field of flowers that are somehow still in bloom as I am enveloped in snow that is somehow warm). When the much awaited early snow at last came, though, I had one thought that crowded out all the others: my hands are cold.
I bundled up and headed over to the Major University book store, where I bought an umbrella and gloves that I promptly lost within two days. For a few hours there, though, I felt very seasonal.
When I arrived at the dining hall I found it filled with students seeking refuge from the cold weather in warm food. I was lucky enough to run into a friend I hadn't seen in a while, and we sat sipping hot chocolate as he told me about his fiancée's bizarre family troubles and snow fell steadily outside.
Before much time had passed the snow was done coming down and I, sans Laquesha (who was apprehensive of potentially icy road conditions) was on my way with Professional Guy to the Old Dorm party. "Old Dorm" refers to a dormitory on Major University's campus, now given over to Freshmen housing, in which a large group of mutual friends lived and met between 2005 and 2008. I, as an alien 19-year-old arrival on the Old Dorm floor in 2007, was one of the last to be inducted into the circle but have always considered my random placement there one of the great fortunes of my life. Now, even years later, we refer to our far-flung brotherhood simply as "Old Dorm," and even those of us who did not occupy the hall at the same time have managed to become quite good friends.
They are a warm and off-beat group of people. I like to flatter myself that I fit in with them.
In addition to the joys of old friends and new snow, however, I took away from Halloween a valuable lesson: I cannot drink liquor. My flimsiness even when under the influence of negligible amounts of beer should have led me to this conclusion long ago, but once I had a little bit of rum in me I somehow became magically convinced that I was capable of handling more. To make a long story short, I was at more than three but not quite four mixed drinks when I all but passed out. The next morning I felt ill and saw a string of calls of which I had no memory made from my phone at three o'clock in the morning. The cell phone record was conclusive evidence that, for the first time in my life, I'd blacked out.
"I'm going back to my old rule," I told Blonde Friend the next day. "A shot or two of liquor at the start of the night and then nothing but beer the rest of the way. I don't get sick, I don't black out, I don't get hung over. It's a good arrangement."
Tomorrow I'm headed home for a weekend that will include, given my parents' absence on Saturday night, the first sleepover I've had in a good long while. I'm excited about it. There are a lot of difficulties for me right now, and in the midst of that I'm happy for weekends home and slumber parties and Halloween reunions. I'm happy I got snow in October.