We split the difference between home observance and family visits, as we always do with any holiday, because there are children and grandchildren scattered hither and yon all over the valley. In this instance, we poured a bunch of cheap candy into a big bowl and made a little sign that said "BOO" in orange oil pastel, taped to a pair of Chinese takeout chopsticks. We put the bowl and sign on the front steps, and headed out to see the scary creatures at four different households.
First, we stopped at the house of Spiderman Will and Batman Van. We also had a little bit of penne and tomato sauce--delicious. Spiderman had a small brontosaurus in hand, which roared, only adding to the scary.
Next, we stopped at the house of a princess, a vampire princess, a ladybug and a cupcake. We were able to witness a little trick or treat action at the neighboring houses. The trees in this neighborhood were ablaze, the light waning, the jack o' lanterns aglow. The cat, Sheen, who lives at this house wanted to be a part of things. He scampered in and out of the shrubberies, venturing up the step on a porch, the little family familiar.
After that, we went to the house of Bumblebee the Transformer, so high spirited in a brief hiatus in his trick or treating that he called the historian Optimus Prime and me Megatron. We had a bowl of minestrone there to sustain us.
Last of all the game, we visited Obi Wan Kenobi (or Kenobio, as a little brother called it), a ninja, Mario, and a tiny frog. Here, too, we assisted briefly in the trick or treating. It was dark. The moon drifted in a cloudy sky. The neighborhood decor flared as we turned a corner or stepped up a walk.
Earlier in the afternoon, I gathered my wits and mailing supplies about me to put my manuscript again into play. Here's how that went: I submitted to two competitions online, and four IRL, which necessitated the following analysis of supplies:
- four manuscript-sized kraft brown envelopes. Check.
- four long regular envelopes, for notification of results. I had three.
- four stamps for long regular envelopes. I had three.
- four binder clips, except that as of late, three competitions specify that they would like the manuscript to be submitted in a folder with no other binding implement. Did I have folders? I did not.
This meant going to the Office Max to
- copy the manuscript;
- buy envelopes;
- buy folders.
Then, I wrote checks for each of the entry fees; figured out how to fit a folder-enclosed manuscript into a slim-fit manuscript-sized envelope (here's a clue: you have to fold the folder); binder-clipped the one manuscript for the competition that allowed binder clippery; made sure all the parts of the submission were matching; then used all available saliva (just my own--sorry, gross) to seal the envelopes.
AND THEN at 9 p.m., we went to the P.O. to engage with the P.O. robot, so that the manuscripts can be sent. But first we had to buy stamps, so the one envelope for return of results could have a stamp on it.
That's how it goes, though. What's the point of resisting these steps? You just make the trips, buy the stuff, copy the manuscript, and send it off, all the while trying not to allow the pointlesspointlesspointless mantra to take hold. And why think about pointlessness, anyway? All the reasons--the overwhelming negative odds, the expense, the hassle, general grouchiness--seem, today, so beside the point. Who cares? Might as well submit.