Two years ago we adopted a dog named Lily. We got her from the Toronto Humane Society, but we suspect she grew up in New York. The Bronx, to be exact. She comes from a world of cigarettes and cheap perfume and kitten heels and sale racks at Macy’s. She likes her lipstick red and her Baby Duck pink. Think an older Bette Davis with Marg Simpson’s voice.
I’m telling you this for context. Because it’s part of the reason why Lily hates Halloween. In fact, we have it down to about 5 reasons why.
- She has to wear a costume.
Lily is a worldly woman. She did Studio 54 in the 70s. She hung out with Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger. She dated Lou Reed (though she never told him her favourite singer was really Billy Joel).
This is not the sort of woman you dress up like a monkey. But a monkey costume is nonetheless what is forced upon her Halloween night. To say she hates it is an understatement: with long face and sad eyes, she sits for her close-up, then off it comes.
- People come to the door.
Lily often makes us wonder why we bought an alarm system. The slightest tap on the front door will set her off. She’s even barked when I’ve knocked on the kids’ bedroom doors, despite the fact she’s sitting beside me.
It all comes down to her dislike of visitors. And hey, I get it. When she’s chillin’ in front of the TV, painting her nails and having a smoke, the last thing she wants is some goddamned person at the door, pretending to be all friendly and basically killing the chill.
Needless to say, on All Hallow’s Eve, with doorbell dinging and candles lit and throngs of sugar-fueled kids, she’s a nervous wreck. She yells at the door, over and over again (“F*** off! Goddamned kids…”)… until, at last, hoarse and spent, she flops down again in front of the TV, with her O.P.I. and her toe spacers, pissed that she missed the part where Linda Blair’s head spins around.
- The people who come to the door are kids.
Lily hates kids. She’s been known to whack them with her Coach and throw her Jimmy Choos at them; thankfully her aim sucks. (Sidenote: The adoption coordinator at the Toronto Humane Society told us she’d been given up because she’d bitten a 7-year-old girl. I strongly suspect it was because the girl was teasing her. Despite having been around the block a few times, Lily’s an incredibly gentle lady who’s hardly even growled in the two-and-a-half years we’ve had her.)
So come Halloween night, not only is the GD doorbell going off every two minutes, but when it opens — guess what? Kids! And more kids! And still more GD kids! (“Go away! Jesus, my gams are killin’ me…”)
- The kids are taking treats.
Did I mention Lily likes to eat? No, I mean really eat. One of my daughter’s nicknames for her is Fatty Chan: ‘Chan’ is a term of endearment the Japanese add to the name of someone close to them.
Lily’s other common alias is Potato Girl. In addition to her rather round body, she has no tail (she’s part Corgi) and no neck to speak of. Steve calls her “the easiest dog in the world to draw”. Start with a potato-shaped oval, draw 4 lines down from it, and you’re pretty much done.
(Of course, all this is said and done out of earshot. Lily is truly a diamond in the rough: trampy on the outside, but mushy on the inside; she’d be quite hurt if she knew we joked about her like this.)
All that said, given that she loves food as much as she does, the idea of giving it away at the door is preposterous. (“Oh, Christ… not the Kit Kats too… So what’s left?… The wrapped caramels? You know I can’t eat those… Goddamned dentures… ”)
- The cats get all the attention.
Halloween and cats are almost as synonymous as Halloween and bats. They just go together.
But Lily has a thing about cats. It’s not that she hates them. She just… isn’t sure about them. Lily is a black-and-white kinda girl, literally and figuratively. She’s hungry, she’s tired, she has to pee, she needs a smoke. All simple wants that are pretty easy to decipher.
The cats, on the other hand, are more enigmatic. They don’t say much. They stay up all night. They sit on the kitchen table. They vote Democrat. (Lily’s 100% behind The Donald.)
In short, she doesn’t get cats — and she doesn’t trust them. So in addition to having to cope with a holiday she hates, she has to listen to everyone talk about the cats. (“Cats this and cats that… Christ… isn’t it enough they get to shit in a box inside the house?”)
As I write this, she’s stretched out, cucumber slices on her eyes and a tumbler of scotch beside her. Fox News is on, and she’s mumbling about finding a happy place.
Another Halloween is here… have a good one.