On a day when I can feel my Cinderella impression coming on, I like to do unto others as I wished they would do unto me.
If I am exhausted and desperately don’t want to clean my dishes, I tell myself I’m going to sing “Barbary Allen,” and when I’m done singing I don’t have to do any more dishes. This is a trick: I can make “Barbary Allen” stretch from 3 minutes to 10. And all the dishes, my and my friends’, end up done.
Or if I my brain is feeling desiccated, I tell myself I don’t need to write a blog post; I will just post one of the pictures I like, write a quick subtitle and be done. This is also a trick: after 3 years of writing here, filling that empty window is a strong habit. And that’s what you’re reading.
This week is Playground, which means my best friends at school dedicated more than their usual 24 hours a day to their crafts. After a day of barely-met deadlines, I stood in my doorway and tried to decide whether I would unbind my shoes and sit until someone got home, or go and buy pumpkins to carve.
What I wanted was for a friend to have already decorated*, to walk the mile to the pumpkin patch with me, to chip in for the decorations. But I decided today, as I’ve decided many times before and hope to continue to do so, that I could not let my own satisfaction rest on others’ schedules. So, for myself and because decorating for Halloween matters to me, I plugged into my newest voice lesson piece on my iPod and started down the hill.
And when my friends returned from their shows, shining and dulled at the same time, they liked the decorations.
But that wasn’t really the point.
*Halloween lets our inside scares come to the forefront of our minds and houses and bodies. Scared of bugs in the house? Now we have a meter-high spider in the window. Always feel watched through the window? There’s two witches bodies hanging headless there now. Halloween can be the year’s most honest holiday.
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
~William Shakespeare, Macbeth