Josh in California - Part 7: Halloween I

Thursday, November 1, 2001

It’s the morning after Halloween, actually, and I’m in a library with some people from the hostel using the internet. I’m sitting between Chris and Adam, the two guys I spent my Halloween evening with (along with Amy and Claire, two 18-year-old English lasses who left for Monterrey on the Greyhound this morning). At the Santa Cruz Public Library we also ran across my hostel-roommates Warren (the 36-year-old Brit) and Javier (the aloof South American). Chris sleeps in the same room with us, as well. Adam stays in a different building.

So, what happened Halloween? Nothing terribly incredible, I guess, but we had fun. I ran across Chris as I came home from seeing Mulholland Drive — the rather dull, pointless, new David Lynch spookout — as Chris was putting on the knit-wool leopard-print dress that would be his costume for the evening (filled out voluptouosly with two t-shirts). Chris, for those of you home on the range, resembles old Jesse Norris in much fo his appearance and attitude towards the world but isn’t so over-the-top energized. He’s out here trying to get accepted into the co-op house across the street from the hostel — The Cesar Chavez Cooperative. Anyway, he was in the process of getting dressed so I asked if I could come out with him and whoever else was going out from the hostel.

I’m getting really long winded about all of this, so I’ll speed up some and leave out some of the silly “detail.”

So, we ended up hanging out at the hostel for a couple hours before taking off with Adam, who had his face painted white with brack circles around his eyes, and Amy and Claire. Amy had a cowboy hat on and a blue-jean jacket with a couple of black glittered horseshoes on her cheeks, and Claire just had some Union Jack sort of designs on her cheeks. They weren’t really prepared for Halloween, I don’t think, and they’ve actually been travelling around the United States since at last the very first of September (they saw NYC the week before the Twin Towers came down — lucky them) so they can’t really be blamed for not having planned this out better, but they did look cute and I can’t really complain about other people not having decent Halloween outfits — I just wore my big, stupid alien mask (on my head and on my hand, alternately, because it was rather uncomfortable on my head, not being able to see or hear very well with it on). Javier came out with us, too, dressed as a surly South American skater-dude, but wandered away from us at our first stop at the Saturn Cafe, where we stopped to get feuled on Espresso (Adam), Mocha (Amy), and Yerba Mate (Chris and I).

Have you ever had Yerba Mate? Seems to be a big deal around here right now, and in England too, judging from the girls. It’s an Argentinian tea-like beverage that provides the same energy boost as caffeine but without the jittery edge. I guess it worked that way — I felt more awake afterwards but who knows why for real. It tastes like grass-clippings, though — not bad but not the best taste in the world. The girls thought the stuff was disgusting. I enjoyed it. So there’s Yerba Mate for you. Look for it soon at your local hipster coffeeshop.

Back to the story at hand, now.

We got drinks at the Saturn Cafe, a space-themed restaurant on Pacific Avenue (where all the action was happening). We got them, talked, Adam took some black-and-whites and the girls took some photos, and we watched the strange people coming and going, including the super-tall skinny guy dressed in drag and fishnets, the sexy waitress with blood all over her front, really quite a few more lengerie/bikini-bare-all sort of outfits on girls than I would have expected, but hey — that sort of thing makes the Yerba Mate go down smoother, I suppose. And according to Adam Santa Cruz doesn’t have laws banning public nudity, so, well, there you go.

We walked, then, the five of us, up and down Pacific Avenue from the Saturn Cafe up to the end of the street (at a church, I believe) and then we came back down to the base of Pacific where we would normally have turned to go back to the hostel. Maybe when my mind is fresher (I’m a tad hungover from the part of the story I haven’t yet written about) I’ll be able to remember the specifics better, but for now it exists in my head as a swirly mess of walking and commenting on other people’s outfits and laughing when someone grabbed or hooted at Chris’ t-shirt boobs, listening to a drum circle and a xylophone circle (up near the church — very cool and Philip Glass-ish). I remember seeing a pair of breasts running down the street and Hunter S. Thompson on at least three different occasions. I remember seeing lots of guys in drag and lots of ladies dressed as a “sexy-(fill-in-the-blank).” (The Onion has a good infographic illustrating my point. It’ll be stashed away in an archive in a few days, so I won’t link to it; find in on your own!) Halloween is, for many people, I suppose, about being the version of yourself you’ve always wanted to be, as weird as possible and/or experimenting with your surroundings. Life gets rather Burning-Man-ish on Halloween, I’ve noticed, when people feel they have more licence to let the bizarre sides of themselves leave sticky trails all along the sidewalks. Halloween on Pacific Avenue worked like this, for sure.

I’ve only got five minutes left to use this computer (an alert box just let me know), so I’m going to wrap up for now and write about the rest of the evening — after the bottles of vodka got bought…

You’ll just have to fucking wait, okay?!