Halloween Highlights and Horrors

Valley View by Fereva

"Trick or treat!"

So rang the familiar singsong chant delivered to my home by groups of costumed children on Halloween, as I'm sure

it was at yours. In my younger, more wicked days, I would challenge the kids, "Okay: Trick!"

And they would look at me, dumbly. So I'd say, "Just kidding!" and pass out the candy. True confession: I do love Halloween. It's definitely a fall highlight with bonuses, 'cause after you carve the pumpkin there are all those delicious seeds to toast.

Nowadays I still pass out the candy, but in the MMM (Mellow Mom Mode). "Ohmygosh," I will say to tots, toddlers, tweens and teens. "You're so cute/scary!" Then I have to ask, because most of the time, I have noooo idea what any of them are pretending to be.

"I'm a witch," one will say. Well, gotcha girl on that one. The tall, black pointy hat kinda gave you away, plus ye olde straw broomstick.

"I'm Spider Man," another will say. MAN? Maybe not, adorable wee one, but definitely worth a couple of sweets in the bag. Just be sure to brush your teeth.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day I ran some work related errands. As mentioned in last week's column, I don't grok techno stuff, but like many boomers- whose high-tech previous lives consisted of a dial up telephone- I'm having to learn.

Deep breath. I can do this. Another true confession? I was horrified.

"It's really easy," the guy at the computer store told me.

Someone explain to me, please- do the salespeople get paid enough to say that? Or do they actually believe it? He wore a rough leather jacket and a long, braided whip wrapped around his chest. Yes, it was Halloween, but I didn't want to go there. At least, not specifically.

"You're wearing that for fun, for Halloween at work, right?" I asked "I'm not going to get flogged if I don't buy the enough merchandise?" He looked downcast and began to unwrap the whip.

I felt like the Wicked Witch of the West, except missing those cool striped tights and ruby slippers. "Just kidding!" I said, as in olden days. Turned out the leatherman was a nice guy and also a technobrainiac. After much lengthy discussion and deliberation, I proceeded to the check-out stand.

The woman who rang up my order was dressed in what appeared to be an exotic, Arabian belly dancing costume.

"Love your outfit!" I told her. She blushed and whispered, "My manager thinks it's too much."

"No honey," I said. "MY outfit is too much."

The cashier looked confused. I whispered (one conspirator to another), "I'm dressed as a frazzled Baby Boomer trying

to get wired." She got it and laughed.

"Hey, a lot of us in the store can't figure this stuff out," she said. This was a most excellent comment because it let me know... I'm not entirely brain dead when I keep referring to the USB connection as the Ubeee- ubbeee- whatsit?

Darkness approached. I took another deep breath and unloaded the box containing my new multifunction (can barely pronounce the word) office machine: AKA a really fancy thing-a-magig, with more buttons and lights and beepers than NASA uses at JPL. "Scotty (stern Kirk voice), I need more power down here, now!"

I tried to follow the instruction manual, translated from a foreign language via techno-dictionary, which of course makes zero sense much of the time: "You must connect to port B when properly A is connected because we just soaked you for a whole lotta moolah. Hah, ha, ha! Just kidding!" That part made sense.

Then the doorbell would ring again, and I'd put on my Halloween cheery mom expression to "Ooohh and Aaahh," over the toddlers' and teens' costumes.

Grown-up Halloween terror? Technology: Is it trick, or treat?

"Special thanks to Sylvie Andrews of DI-NO Computers for her wired

wizard assistance with this column."

Fereva can be reached at fereva@earthlink.net .

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