Sunday, October 31, 2010

Feeling Strangely Sane

I am writing in a desperate attempt to fit in one more post before October officially ends. Strangely, today I would normally be hungover, makeup smudged, fishnets torn, wings bent, flowers crumpled, wand lost. I would be a sad little fairy trudging home after a night of treating and tricking myself into believing that Halloween could somehow last forever. This year was different. I didn't have a Halloween. I didn't even plan a costume. My favorite holiday of the year, where I get to play dress up as an adult, and I gave it up for my family...and for the country, of course. But really, it was for my mom. As I said, "I did it for the love of mom and country."

For months my mother has been talking about the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in DC, led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I hadn't been that gung ho about going in the first place, but I agreed to so long ago that it seemed unnecessarily cruel to back out at the last minute...even after my train was three hours delayed and I had to take a miserable bus for five hours to get home, having had very little sleep two nights in a row, dealing with the insanity of every form of public transportation... But I made it. And it was worth it.

It was incredibly refreshing to stand in the middle of the amazing Mall on a beautiful day, surrounded by gorgeous architecture, immersed in comedy and music, and chatting and laughing along with
thousands of other like-minded (and unlike-minded) individuals. I still can't quite believe that yesterday I saw the Roots, John Legend, Cat Stevens (aka Yusef Islam), Ozzy Osbourne, the OJs, Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, and Tony Bennett (singing "America the Beautiful") all in one day, on one stage... I don't have the energy to turn this into a political rant, so I'm not going to. I'm just going to say that it made me proud to be American, proud to be among those with a sense of humor and a liberal attitude, and proud to be able to say, "I was there," whatever that will mean in 10, 20, or 50 years. Or on Nov. 2nd. Or on Nov. 2nd in two years...

What made it even more worthwhile was that at the very end of the rally I ran into a very dear friend of mine, purely by chance. My mom's cousin was passing out buttons, he happened to receive one, and that made him pause long enough to recognize my mom and for me to spot him and for us to hug and yell and for him to introduce me to his adorable new girlfriend. While we didn't get to hang out for nearly long enough, it was amazing to realize that in a crowd of thousands, in a big world filled with crazy people, you can still reconnect with someone you know and love. We both expressed, "Well of course YOU would be here today..." and it made me realize why we were friends in the first place. What an awesome place to reconnect.

Yesterday and today I saw so many great Halloween costumes, and I was definitely jealous... But I think that what I did was far more valuable than dressing up and getting drunk again, like I do every year. Hell, there's always next year. Instead, I helped my little sister throw together a costume from my old dress ups and she became a little gypsy in a skirt I used to wear myself, complete with a peasant shirt and scarves and red lipstick. Sadly, I couldn't stick around long enough to take her trick-or-treating around our little town. My own, grownup life called and I had to follow it back to NYC. I'm going to be sensible and go to bed, so I can get ready for a busy week of work.

Growing up sucks. Having to miss Halloween sucks even more. But what doesn't suck is spending time with the people you love the most, in a crowd of thousands who have ideas and thoughts and outlooks that you agree with, running into an amazing person who you realize you miss and really ought to go visit, and then returning to the lovely little life you've carved out for yourself with someone you really love. I will be a drunken fairy next year, I promise. This year, I'm just me. But I feel so much more connected with people like myself, now that I know that so many of them exist. God bless America.

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