Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...

The mayor stopped by my house a couple of weeks ago. The actual mayor of Denver.

Let me preface this by saying that I am sort of obsessed with Mayor Hickenlooper. Not only do I find his politics inspiring, but I also think he is just plain cool. Remember his dorky little self-deprecating campaign commercials where he was riding around on the scooter? I mean, what other “normal” politician does that? And what other large city has a mayor who owns a bar? Plus his wife is a writer, so I feel that he understands my creative plight, and that if he were to get to know me, he would really like me, too. In summary, I think our mayor is the best. He is trying to help the homeless and save the environment and make Denver a great place to live, and I just really like him. In fact, I’m not shy; I’ll say it. I LOVE MAYOR HICKENLOOPER!

I suppose I should also preface the story with the fact that this night in particular was Halloween. And the mayor lives in my neighborhood. Oh, and he has a son who is about 6 or so. And also, uh, he didn’t really stop by to see me, but instead to bring his son trick-or-treating. But still, he did stop by.

After having lived in an apartment for the past seven years, this was the first time that I have had my very own house, and therefore my very own trick-or-treaters vying for their chances to take my candy. I was so excited to hand it out that I rushed home from work and carefully prepared my stash. I made sure to purchase the good stuff, too, none of the crappy candy that kids hate. I was going to do this right so that these kids would be talking about me for years. There were Snickers, and Skittles, and Mike and Ikes, and KitKats, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Oh yes, only the best for my very first trick or treaters.

The first group of kids came to the door. They rang the bell, and instantly my crazy dog decided that he was not down with little goblins and Power Rangers hanging out on our doorstep. As I opened the door, he started with his low growl and then crescendoed into his loudest, most ferocious bark. Blue is about the sweetest dog in the world, and he is usually a huge wuss. However, this night, he was determined to protect me from the throngs of 8-year-olds who were plotting to steal the chocolate that he would otherwise pilfer from the bowl while I slept, in turn, adding a trip to the vet to that week’s to-do list. He wasn’t going to give it up that easily.

When the next group of kids came to the door, I figured Blue would get the hang of it and calm down. Instead, he bared his teeth and started growling and barking again. This time, one of the kids on the porch burst into tears and turned and ran without even getting any candy. I could see that my suddenly certifiable Australian Shepherd was making damn sure that this would be my first and last year of catering to the trick-or-treaters of Denver. I could be giving out laptop computers next year, and they still wouldn’t risk ringing the bell. My dog was ruining Halloween, but I had an idea.

The weather was gorgeous, so I loaded up my arms with the huge orange bowl full of candy, my magazine, and a monster glass of wine and I went outside to sit on the porch and wait for the kids. Blue stared at me through the window as I flipped pages and sipped from my glass. He wore a look that said, “you will pay for this,” but I didn’t care; I was hell-bent on enjoying it.

The kids started to come in droves, and they were adorable. Chubby little pumpkins, a pair of identical-twin angels, a couple of those prostitute-y Bratz girls, a very believable Dracula, and even a little rap star with his own bling. I was loving it. My perfect neighbor from across the street came by with her daughter, world’s cutest two-year old dressed as a little, tiny, chubby-cheeked cow. We chatted for awhile, and then they headed back home.

Just as they were leaving, my favorite kid of night walked right up to me like he knew me. He was a Storm Trooper which, as a child of the 80’s, I totally appreciated. He said “trickertreeeeet” and I reached into the bowl and lifted a big handful of candy, about to drop it into his bag. He examined what was in my hand, then looked down into my bowl and said, “Actually, I’ll just pick my own” which he did. He deliberated, then selected two pieces and said “This will be fine, thank you” as if he were my boss reviewing a document I had just dropped on his desk.

I love kids who are so precocious like that. He was with a grown-up, a man dressed in all black, topped off with a witch’s hat. I looked up to see what genius had raised this adorable Storm Trooper. There, standing on my front steps, was the mayor, and in my infinite wisdom, with my internal editor completely starstruck, that is exactly what I said.

“Oh, the mayor is here,” I bleated out to no one in particular.

And I’m sure he was thinking no shit, lady, but instead he just smiled and said “Shhhhhhhh” because, with my highly intellectual and apparently somewhat loud words, I was giving away his presence to the entire population of the neighborhood.

That's when I saw him look directly at the biggest glass of wine in the world which just happened to be sitting next to my feet. I saw him look at it, and then he looked back at me and then immediately ushered his son back down the steps. I just stood there like the idiot that I was, devastated that I had just completely embarrassed myself in front of the man whom all of Denver would cheerfully elect President tomorrow if given the chance.

I’m sure that the mayor now thinks that I am the crazy lady of the neighborhood who gets drunk and tries to hang out with little kids for kicks. I’m sure that as soon as he was out of sight, he took away the candy I had given to his son and threw it in the bushes. I’m sure that he has probably placed me under some sort of government watch; if I look closely I bet I can see the undercover officers on stakeout in front of my house, blowing on their hot coffee, staring at my door, taking turns for bathroom breaks like on Law and Order. I’m sure of all of this.

Anyway, about twenty minutes later, I saw the mayor and his son again, this time walking up the other side of the street heading to my perfect neighbor’s perfect house. She opened the door wide, giving the mayor a glimpse of how the perfect residents of his city lived, gorgeous art, shiny hardwood floors, not a rabid dog in sight. She graciously introduced herself and made perfect small talk about the upcoming light rail projects and the Democratic National Convention coming in August. She did what I wanted to do, and she did it with style, and grace and without a gallon of cheap wine in her hand. I just sat there silently berating myself for being so inarticulate, and for wearing a ripped sweatshirt, and for not thinking to at least put my wine in an opaque plastic cup of some sort like all the other classy people would have done. I looked on as the mayor and my perfect neighbor chatted like old friends. Then it got even worse when the mayor turned around and caught me staring at him longingly over the top of my magazine. I was just innocently watching him and wishing that I weren’t such an idiot, but I am sure that, to him, my mournful gaze resembled borderline stalking. ARRRRRGGH! Why am I such a loser??

So, that was my Halloween experience. I finally met the mayor, and I acted like an enormous ass. I guess there is an upside, though, and that is that I will definitely get the chance to see my hero, the mayor, in person again. Unfortunately, it will be when he and his lovely wife pull up for their dinner date at my neighbor’s house next week. Why didn’t I think of that?

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