Halloween means different things to different people, and last night was a great example of the turning point I’m approaching in my life. I found myself considering the evening various groups of friends were having, and realizing that I wasn’t quite on the same page as any of them.
It was a strange feeling of being adrift, but it gave good perspective for where I want to go. We were in Orlando for the evening, where I had snuck down to surprise Sal while on tour. A very kind friend was able to score us some free tickets to Universal Studios, so we had spent the day at the two parks, seeing the Harry Potter exhibits and riding rides and generally making merry. But when the evening came, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to do with ourselves. Naturally, I took to Facebook and text messages to see what friends in the area were doing.
Many of our friends were doing Halloween parties at their (or others’) homes. Had we been back in NYC, we likely would’ve been hosting one ourselves, or if nothing else going to a friend’s place, but we were off in Orlando… And while we’d been invited to a friend’s place in town, I just wasn’t all that keen on driving to and from a house in an unfamiliar city when there would be drinking involved, and public transportation in Orlando leaves a lot to be desired.
Other friends, of course, we’re hitting up bars around town. Bizarrely, three straight castmates of Sal’s were excited about going to a gay bar in Orlando, called Southern Nights. Another Orlando friend was at a place called House of Beers, and that was very tempting… Not because I’m a big beer aficionado, necessarily, but my go-to bar in NYC is House of Brews, so the nostalgia factor was high. In the end, though, I wasn’t excited about being out on Orlando roads late at night while bar hopping.
Other friends were out trick-or-treating with their kids. This was especially common with friends from the Brevard County area (Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc.) because so many of the friends I grew up with are still there and raising families of their own now. Facebook was full of pictures of costumes children excited for their annual Halloween haul. Part of me ached to be there with them, especially when two families of very dear friends were spending their Halloween together. But again, the drive (especially home at the end of the night) wasn’t appealing at all.
In the end, I did what was comfortable and normal for me: I stayed where I was, tossed on a movie (gotta love having an Apple TV with you on the road!), poured a single drink to sip, and had a chill evening. No costumes, no parties, no bars, no adventures… Not even any other friends, as one by one people’s plans to join us fell through. But I got to enjoy a final few hours with Sal before he hit the road at dawn and I packed up for my flight home.
All this made me give some thought to what future Halloweens are likely to hold for me. We might be hosting a party with friends in NYC, or I can even see us coming down to spend Halloween with our Florida friends and their kids. Or we might even be celebrating our first Halloween as parents of our own child(ren) by then.
Hard to say, really… But I suppose any day you can spend with people you love is a day worth celebrating.