Sometimes Karma can be a real bi-atch. And other times she sweeps you up in her arms, embrace you with love and kiss you passionately. With tongue like a French chambermaid.
It’s those times when she sends you off to Georgetown on the eve of Halloween, as part of the final connecting leg of a business trip. Especially if Halloween is something you only see in movies.
Let me start by breaking down my understanding of the concept.
Halloween is a festival of unknown origin, where parents allow their children to collect candy from strangers, after probably teaching them that it is something they should never do. And the only reason why it would be deemed appropriate behaviour is because a lot of the people they receive candy from, would be dressed like Zombies or the Mad Hatter. So the kids are encouraged to take sweets from the creepy guy down the street, who would actually now be in full costume as “The creepy guy”.
“Don’t worry my child, seeing that I took the effort of making you look like a little witch or an alien or a hot dog, you can now proceed to knock on any random door in the street and take all the candy from whoever answers the door.” Says every loving American parent.
And what about the sugar levels of these poor kids as they collect wagon loads of candy. As I was walking around, observing everything, it became apparent that there are people on crack that look less energized than some of the kids running around. Some of them looked like they were about to explode. And the anxious looking parents were chasing them in an effort to protect the neighbourhood from their sugar-high kids. Animals with Rabies were hiding from the crazy.
And then there are the houses that take on a life of their own. I don’t want to sound overly critical but some of these home owners went totally ballistic in their decorations. If you have enough time to do a Broadway stage design of your own little Nightmare before Christmas, only to impress little children for one night, then you need to get out a little more. Maybe make a few friends. Or get a life.
It was an absolute overload of pumpkins and flags and ghosts and skeletons and spiders and webs and skulls and jack-o-lanterns and bats and shit. All meant to contribute to this weird, cheery, or should I say eery, annual holiday.
The general consensus for ending the spree of Trick-or-Treaters would be if said Trick-or-Treaters are either (1) Taller than the house owners or (2) Started to shave. When this happens, doors are slammed shut, porch lights switched off and all those sugar induced kids are moved indoors, which can only spell disaster for the parents who allowed their adventures in the first place.
The rest of us move down to M-street.
Once there, you need to find a bar with a balcony and order a drink. Then whilst you sip leisurely you can laugh at the chaos that is unfolding in the streets below. People of Georgetown don’t mess around with wannabe costumes, they commit to whatever strange fantasy inhabits their mind.
As the night progressed I saw many original costumes. And mostly drunk versions of old ones. Like the drunk Santa Clause who was hitting on the drunk Zombie. A drunk baby hanging out with a bunch of drunk trolls. An Alice who seemed to be lost in her own Wonderland. Erik Estrada from C.H.I.P.S was making a move on Elsa. There was a table full of drunk nuns and one very lucky pope. (I don’t think they took their religious beliefs seriously.) There was the drunk lesbians dressed as normal people and an athletic, blonde guy who made me feel very uncomfortable.
I did get to meet a bunch of awesome Washingtonians, who invited me to their house when they realised I was a South African. They knew a fellow countrymen of mine. I was somewhat surprised when K asked if I was in costume, which I wasn’t. She reckoned I could pass as a cowboy. I’m a bit concerned as this means that my daily attire resembles a Halloween costume. I knew I had a limited fashion sense, but didn’t realise I needed help in dressing myself. Maybe that blonde guy could give me a few pointers…
The night lasted forever and it feels like I met a million people.
It has to be said that Washington is beautiful, even in bad weather and Georgetown is picturesque. The Lincoln Memorial is as big as you think it is and the Washington Monument is a LOT bigger than you think it is. The mirror pool works effectively and it was inspiring to see the pride of the American nation displayed in so many ways.
The White House is barely visible. You can’t even get close to the building, unless of course you scale the fence and make a run for it. I don’t think orange is a good colour on me, so I didn’t bother.
All good things have to end eventually and it was time to go. Time to leave this wonderful country and head to a better one, home. I couldn’t wait anymore, and the only thing that stood between me and my family was 28 hours of travelling.
To the US of A, thank you for your hospitality, for your spectacular sights, your interesting cities, the countless stories, my many new friendships and one amazing experience. It’s one I will never forget.
And until we meet again, TOTSIENS.