For the third year, I’ve underestimated the gumption of Pittsburgh’s youth. (I’ve also frankly just forgotten about Halloween all three years, but all the same.) I didn’t expect trick or treaters any of these years because I live in a building I can only describe as dark and intimidating. Like, if I were a little kid and I saw the weirdness on my downstairs neighbors’ front porch, no way would I be ringing this doorbell. But, ah, yinzer children, you are fearless, and I keep breaking your heart. Our doorbell rang a little after 6 and I slunk down the stairs to crush Princess Leia and a monster’s hearts. Our exchange went something like this:
(Laika barking incessantly)
Leia and monster: TRICK OR TREAT!!!!
Me: Oh…no. We kind of don’t have any candy…
Leia and monster: (sad little frowns appear) Oh.
Me: Geez, I’m really sorry. Uh? Happy Halloween?
So now I feel like I have burnt down a Christmas tree or kicked a puppy or something. I keep breaking little witches’ hearts. I checked in the pantry for candy but all I could find was some Tofutti Cuties, 3/4 of a pack of gum, and a box of Nerds from like two Easters ago. If only children wanted my cowboy boots or Andy’s records. Those I could give away pretty easily. Alas, now I am hiding in the dark listening really quietly to Lady Gaga (by the way, listening quietly to Lady Gaga? Not that much fun.) hoping no one can see the glow of the computer from the front door.
Since I am being held hostage by my Halloween recalcitrance, I should at least say a thing or two about the new Sherman Alexie, War Dances. Not my favorite thing by him, but not my least favorite either. The title story is drop-dead perfection (there is an exchange about Trader Joe’s that I think Alexie might have even stolen from inside my brain), but the rest pales in comparison. Alexie is a wildly talented poet, but his short stories in this just aren’t what I’ve come to expect from him. I will probably read this again before I return it, but consider me 25% disappointed. I am following War Dances up with In the Name of Salome (Julia Alvarez)–also not the greatest thing I’ve ever read. Alvarez consistently makes me hunger for a deeper understanding of the history of the Dominican Republic–more specifically, Trujillo’s reign of terror–and this book is no exception to that. Half of it (1960s Poughkeepsie, NY) bores me and the other half (1860s DR) thrills me. I am tempted to skip the sections from the 1960s but I’ll probably just read it all and be grumpy about it.
Buffy & sweater knitting await me. Ah, the perfect Halloween.