Tag Archives: halloween

i finish up seeing facebook friends in england! now to get myself home. . .

there are so many levels of hell, according to dante, but i don’t think he ever anticipated the easyjet tier of hell.  getting out of dortmund, germany after a bruising reality check that facebook friends sometimes will just NOT EVER want to meet and that i could be an idiot (the latter being my own little mantra), we alighted to dortmund international airport where security felt up my twins and played around with my lady bits in a manner that i really we should have had a “relationship talk”.  

 

the easyjet boarding system is modeled on the highly successful titanic lifeboat boarding system. when we took off i had the odd sensation that i could fly the damn plane better than the pilot. this did not instill confidence in me because i generally do not pilot planes. well, i never pilot planes.

 
 
we had a reservation at the “easyhotel” owned by the airline.  imagine the jetsons trapped in orwell’s 1984.  but then it was onto london to catch a train to bristol to meet f2fb friend #248 anna brooke.  
 
i hadn’t seen anna in fourteen years.  she was the assistant to a colleague of my ex-husband’s.  anna and her husband stephen were newlyweds (well, maybe a couple of anniversaries past that status) and were desperate to have children.  they were going through ivf.  they were eating soy products thought to improve fertility.  they drank nonalcoholic wine which i think suggests an absolute commitment to conception.  and yet, they were disappointed.  we lost touch, time passed, and then i see anna on facebook.  we friend each other.  i notice she posts a lot about catherine and daniel, two youngsters who are unbearably cute.  i realize she’s had kids.  i dont’ how to ask her “what the heck happened?”  but, you know what?, we got to have that conversation in bristol where the family of stephen, anna, catherine, and daniel live. THIS is exactly the sort of situation that calls for YOU to meet all your facebook friends in person.  unfortnately, both my cell phone camera and my video cam gave me trouble, otherwise i’d show you the handsome and delightful quartet!
 

in bristol, we saw a suspension bride designed by isambard kingdom brunel, a nineteenth century engineer. he died before the bridge was even being developed. would you rather be revered and famous after your death or before?

 
 
 
from bristol, we alighted to brighton/hove on the train.  little did we know that the british railway system is a bit ungainly.  the train “terminated” at worth and all passengers were advised to leave.  most made the decision to take an alternate train back to london.  but if i missed brighton on november 4, i would have to come back on the fifth.  guy fawkes day which is celebrated most particularly in the town of lewes, next to brighton.  tens of thousands of people come to lewes to commemorate the blowing up of parliament by a catholic and the burning at the stake of seventeen protestants during the reign of queen mary 1.  i wore my rosary under my sweater just in case.  the book of revelations talks about how you’ll know the endtimes are near if guy fawkes celebrations are ever held at the same time as halloween.  so i didn’t tell anybody about trick-or-treating, apple-bobbing, or egging your neighbor’s windows.
 
we took a bus into brighton/hove and met f2fb friend #249 mark jonathan cage and his very lovely girlfriend laura.  they laid out the most remarkable “traditional” english sunday dinner of roast chicken, roasted potatoes and turnips, steamed vegetables, suet pudding,  dressing, a homemade apple and honey cake with  ice cream and custard.  i wondered what they were going to do for a main course.
 
mark took us all to beachy head which is the suicide “go to” place in england.  it’s amazing how tall the cliff is and how exposed it is. when mark told me that a huge problem is erosion i was like “uh, no thanks” and i wondered about why i was seeing a facebook friend whom i had never met, but with whom i had played online scrabble.  it was pretty damn windy but luckily i was ballasted by my weight.  so that’s why the traditional english dinner is so grand!
 
then off to heathrow to get ourselves back to america.  seventeen days, eleven countries, 21,600 miles, two pairs of shoes, one carryon bag–and i had one last adventure:  something illegal in the united states but apparently available on every street corner in brighton, england.
 

every adventure begins with the word impossible

the year began with 365 days, 325 facebook friends, and a new year’s resolution to meet every single friend at least once during the year.  it appeared, and still appears, to be impossible.  this weekend, on the 298th day of the year, i will have to embark on what i consider the most impossible aspect of this venture–traveling overseas.

i leave for south korea on sunday.  i’ll have with me my older son joseph who is, oddly enough, f2fb friend #61.  we will meet with facebook friend john chie, hopscotch over to taiwan, slipping into and out of the philippines in one day, hitting up mumbai and dubai before landing in rome on the 30th.  we will see facebook friends at every stop, except in mumbai and rome there will be two friends!

after trick or treating at the vatican, joseph and i will head for germany on monday and wind up in england on the second of november!

f2fb friend #238 tina marshall invited me to highwood.  she is a manicurist and she wanted at least my hands to look good on this trip.  we’ve known each other for close to ten years but it’s been at least a year since we’ve actually physically seen each other.  when we have phones, messaging, email, facebook, twitter, and carrier pigeons, we sometimes can forget that it’s spending time together that makes a friendship.

i told her that i’m scared of the upcoming flights, the uncertainties of countries where i don’t speak the language, the possibilities for catastrophe.  and, of course, that i will–for the first time in my life–not be here for this sacred holiday of candy and mayhem.  halloween is my favorite holiday because i don’t feel so silly being myself.  she reminded me that i will also be missing the special festivities of the city of highwood.

(to learn more about the festivities go to highwoodpumpkinfest.com!)

it still seems impossible that i’ll see each of my 325 facebook friends by december 31 (all new year’s resolutions have an endgame) but if they’re as easygoing as f2fb friend #239 jim levin it’ll be a joyful but hectic 73 days to the finish line.  jim invited me to the river north area of chicago where he works starting new businesses.  he likes the excitement and challenge–for instance, when he was just 24 he recognized the talents of an italian designer gianni versace.  he negotiated to bring the designer’s work to the united states.  within a few short years, he had opened all the versace stores in america and sold the business, moving on to another challenge.  he is an artist as much as a painter or sculptor.  his canvas just happens to be commerce.

jim is an actor and was a highly valued college football player. but you could have guessed that from his good looks!

 

jim and i share an excitement about the impossible.  i don’t know if we share the fear of the impossible–i have it, i have a sense that jim doesn’t have that fear.

make a new year’s resolution, whether your new year begins on january one or rosh hashanah or on your birthday or on the third day after the first full moon in april.  make it something you’ve always yearned for but believe to be utterly impossible.  then tell all your friends (posting on facebook december 31, 2010 worked for me) and you’ll find that you can’t back out.  your friends will propel you forward towards success.  you will take small steps, ignoring the big obstacles and turning them into strengths.  if you want, email me your most impossible resolution.  i will be that friend for you!


i reach the 70.4% mark at the beginning of the fourth quarter. . .

“is it time?”  i asked at the beginning of every september as the winnetka police department put out the “drive safely, no, really, we mean it this time because the kids are back in school and nobody around here teaches their kids to look both ways” signs.

“no,”  eastman would say firmly.

“is it time?”  i would ask when winnetka matrons would put winter cabbage and mums in their front porch urns and caribou coffee announced pumpkin lattes and pumpkin mochas and pumpkin tea.

“no,” joseph would say.

“is it time?”  i would ask when i ripped the scribbled over september sheet of the family calendar from the refrigerator.

“all right, fine, whatever,”  the boys would say.

and i would put up the halloween decorations:  skulls hanging from the trees surrounding our house.  tenacious spider webs that would cling until the first hard spring rain.  a giant spider that had to be blown up and plugged in and held down with tent stakes and it would still roll over into the street.  and my costume for the big day?  i should use the plural, because i don’t like to limit myself to just one.

but this year, no halloween for me.  october has become the month of the final sprint towards a number–325.  i made a new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends and i am now, ahem, ready to meet up with the 230th friend tomorrow.  i am 70.4% towards my goal, which puts me at 1.4% short of being on target.  i’m feeling the pressure.  on the other hand, most of my new years resolutions of old–losing weight, giving up drinking, cleaning out every closet in this house–are usually forgotten by february.  so missing halloween will be a small sacrifice–i’ll be in dubai when the big day happens and i can assure you i will not be regaling the good citizens of that country with accounts of goblins and ghosts and obama costumes.

at the beginning of the weekend, i saw f2fb friend #227 tom seymour.  he was a stage manager who saved a play i was working on.  tom often posts lines from movies.  the words seem utterly random until you figure out that it’s a movie line and you think “what movie?”  and the reptilian part of your brain thinks it through and four hours later, you respond with another quote from the same movie.

he generally works as a property manager and october first means the day that people get their keys and move into the apartments he manages.  it took a little persuading to get him to take the evening before the first to see me, but his brother charlie (f2fb friend #20) hosted a dinner party which, oddly enough, was comprised almost exclusively of facebook friends i have already visited with.  it was fun to review the year, to catch up with people, to do this in a relaxed manner that a christmas dinner party would not quite allow.

tom is a smoker and he invited me to join him.  i  realized it’s been a long time since i went out onto the front porch with my son eastman (f2fb friend #1) and smoked a cigarette and made a video and thought “i just have to do this 324 more times and i’ll be a success!”.

the next morning, i met two f2fb friends.  they live together.  both of them are intensely shy.  one of them is dealing with an internet stalker.  i have had some experience with stalking and it’s awful.   i went to a third friend who is related to both of them.  she made a ruling:  i would acknowledge that i have met f2fb friends #228 and 229 and i could use a picture i took outside their home.  then i realized the picture showed the license plate of their car.  because of the stalker, i decided to forego the picture.

three quarters of the way into the year, travel arrangements secure, money tight but i’m holding firm, joseph has agreed to come with me around the world–i have only to battle the ghosts and goblins that every resolve entails:  self-doubt, self-loathing, taking the criticisms of friends and strangers to heart, faltering determination.  always i have turned to my friends for help.  i have no doubts about them.   i believe everything can be done so long as one turns to one’s friends for help.  i am grateful.