Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Not home for Halloween

It’s fall. The weather’s cool, I’m wearing my leather jacket every day, and I’m listening to Type O Negative’s October Rust album a lot more. That album, and Metallica’s Master of Puppets always remind me of the fall, like listening to Pink Floyd reminds me of being depressed in high school. I used to say fall was my favorite season, and it mostly still is, except I hate it in New York. There are no trees, it’s when everyone gets sick and inevitably I get sick, and I hate dressing for the cold, then boiling in the subway, then going back to the cold, and eventually making the cold even worse. The one thing I like about the fall is that I usually leave town for a week. And one of the best parts of New York is that it’s very easy to leave, with three major airports right in my back yard.

Earlier this week, it came up that I’d be in Germany for Halloween. When I thought about it, I couldn’t remember the last time I was home for Halloween. Turns out it was in 1996. For prosperity’s sake, here’s a list of where I was for all of the rest of the 10/31s.

1995: Boston. I went for a trade show, maybe Internet World. I was there for a whole week, staying in Cambridge, and pretty much every night was a blackout-level drunken rampage. By about the 30th, I was sick as fuck, and we had a big party on the 31st. I bought a bunch of dayquil and took way too many of them, and thought they weren’t working enough, so I took double that, and by the time we left for the party, I could pretty much see through walls. A woman was dressed as Catwoman in the whole leather costume (before the Halle Berry box-office bomb) and every guy in the place was hitting on her with the same typical pick-up lines (“I’m batman”, etc.) Someone dared me to try something fucked up, so I went up to her and told her that I had all of the Batman toys from McDonald’s and the batwoman one worked the best in the bathrub. She sort of freaked the fuck out. We then went to a gay bar, possibly called the Ram Rod, and checked out the most bizarre Halloween costumes you could possibly imagine. Like, I saw a dude dressed up as a nun in a mini-skirt. Then we flew home a day or two later, and I found that you should never, ever fly with a head cold.

1996: Seattle. I was home. I was also horribly depressed, and did nothing.

1997: Elkhart. I went home for xmas the year before, and it was a total waste of time and money to pay highway robbery rates for mid-December flights. So I made a pre-emptive holiday visit. This was the first time I ever saw my nephew Phillip, and it was the last time I ever saw the inside of my old house in River Manor.

1998: New York. I still lived in Seattle, but I visited Marie in Washington Heights. Went to tapings of Conan (back when it was still funny) and the Daily Show (also when it was still funny.) We watched the parade live on NY1, and it was funny because this guy was with someone dressed as Mickey Mouse, and when the reporter asked where Minnie Mouse was, the dude said “Oh, she’s fucking Goofy” on live TV.

1999: Bloomington/Cincinnati. My uncle died, and I decided to go to the funeral, which involved renting a car and driving about 13 hours to Ohio. I drove all day on Friday, and then the funeral was very early Saturday morning. They blew through the viewing, mass, and burial, had a meal, and all of my relatives scattered, leaving me there at about noon, with nothing to do. I called A and she told me Bloomington wasn’t that far of a drive, so I headed west. I caught up with Bill Perry for a bit, then found A. The plan was to go to a party where a bunch of former UCS geeks would be. But first, I bought one of those rubber halloween masks with a wig glued to it, so nobody could figure out who I was. Had a great time.

2000: Ithaca. I dated this girl from Cornell for a bit, and took the train up to spend a week with her. The train was slow, uncomfortable, boring, and while I was in the bathroom taking a piss, the door flew open, and the entire car saw my junk. I stayed at a Best Western or Motel 6 or something, next to a Wegman’s. Every day, she went to classes, and I said I was going to be editing my book. Instead, I wandered around on foot, spending as much time in the grocery store as a homeless guy looking for warmth. I broke up with her shortly after that, but not because of the Wegmans, the hotel, or the train; it was just a bad idea for a 29-year-old on the verge of a midlife-crisis to date a 21-year-old who is going through all of these “what am I going to do when I graduate” issues.

2001: Las Vegas. This was the weird, post-9/11 trip where nobody was in town, I rented an Audi TT and got a speeding ticket, and not much else.

2002: Las Vegas. On this trip, I was a little bit sick, had this huge money snafu because the Stardust took a huge deposit out of my debit card, and I went for one of the longest walks in my life. And crap, I just realized I got home on the night of the 30th, so I guess I was in New York.

2003: Las Vegas. I was wrong again – I actually got back on the 29th for this trip, so I guess this whole theory is fucked up.

2004: Indiana. I was the only person in New York City that didn’t believe that John Kerry was going to sweep the election with 100% of the votes, and I decided to leave town and avoid the shitstorm. This was also another pre-emptive holiday strike.

2005: Amsterdam – Once again, my memory has failed me on this, because we actually took this trip on the 9th. On Halloween itself, I was in the middle of moving.

And that’s it. Time to go watch Six Feet Under.