You may not like this. Not unless you are a fan of my less than subtle Meldrewisms. There again, if you were not a fan of my less than subtle Meldrewisms you probably wouldn't be here.
We were going to the cinema tonight. The plan was to do something that would involve not being in the house on Halloween night. I hate Halloween night, you will not be surprised to learn. Put it on the list with Valentine's Day, Christmas, Easter and all of the other card manufacturers' wet dreams which mean absolutely nothing to me. Forced fun is abhorrent. If I want to get crazily arse-faced and disgrace myself then I do not need to be put up to it by the owner of Clintons. I'll do it cos it is Wednesday, thanks, and doing it on 'special occasions' is the preserve of people who feel guilty about it and therefore need to justify it.
But anyway we didn't make it to the cinema, despite leaving work a full 70 minutes before the scheduled start time of the film. The drive home was apt for the date on the calendar, the sort of journey normally reserved for soon to be forgotten extras in an outrageous horror flick. Except there is nothing too atmospheric or tense about Edge Lane Drive even in the pitch dark and the driving rain. It doesn't help that Emma's MP3 player has a spooky insistence on playing the same three or four songs in a woefully undersized loop. She says it's the car and not the MP3 player but while we are at it how did we get to the point where Emma's MP3 player is the musical choice in my car? It's another spooky, unsolvable mystery. I suspect she has kidnapped Joss Stone.
Tired and frustrated by the time we arrive home I have never moved so quickly to get back into the house. The rain isn't helping but the real reason I am so keen to get off the street is decidedly more sinister. Trick or treaters. Little bastards with their crap fancy dress and their unshaking, unstinting belief that you should give them something for nothing because it is October 31. Yes I know they are only children, but is it really necessary to validate begging in our culture? One friend reported on his Facebook tonight that some demon child stood at his door shouting through the letterbox that he knew he was at home because he could see the light on and hear the television. As if being at home somehow obligates a person to answer the door in the first place, and in the second place part with their change. I don't answer my door at the best of times, but certainly not if there is a chance it might be some shabbily dressed little wretch with a sense of entitlement harrassing me in the name of tradition. Emma has the same view, as witnessed earlier when some kids knocked on our door when she was in the kitchen.
"Ey!" one of them shouted, seeing her through the kitchen window.
"Ey! Open your door!"
"No." she said brilliantly. This is one of the reasons why I love Emma.
"She said no!" reported the startled child, affronted at her sheer temerity. How dare she refuse to let gobby delinquents see inside our home.
I try to think back and remember if I was ever a trick or treater. To my horror I was, of a fashion. My friends and I had no tricks. We were not hardcore. We wouldn't throw a firework or a box of faeces through your letterbox if you refused to open the door and give us your money, but the fact that we even went as far as to stick a candle in a pumpkin (probably a turnip actually, if memory serves) and ask the question is something which troubles me deeply. What were our parents thinking allowing us to carry on in this fashion? Did they? Or did we just think ourselves rebellious? It's hard to remember.
The parents among my readership will most likely be thinking that my disdain for Halloween and other trumped up festivals of it's kind owes much to the fact that Emma and I don't have any children. You'd probably imagine that if I had children I would not be writing this column now, but would in fact have both hands tied behind my back trying to fish apples out of a dirty bowl with my mouth. You'd be wrong. Today is Wednesday and Emma and I do that on Thursdays. The point here is that I appreciate that there is pressure on parents to play along with the whole Halloween thing, and shouldn't I just lighten up and not take it so seriously anyway? Well no. The fact that other people's children boil my blood in this and a multitude of other spectacular and inventive ways is exactly the reason why I don't have any of my own. Really, don't feel bad for me. I'm not missing out.
I just wish I had made it to the cinema on time.