Part of taking a new faculty job is, of course, moving to a new place. The fact that we moved to a place close to the area we had grown up certainly made the adjustment easier, but we had still lived in a different place with a different culture for almost a decade. Because of this, there have been some surprises along the way. For instance, the people where we live now are happy to wave to you from a passing car or from across the street, but we have had to actively approach people to get to know those that live around us or else we would be stuck with a high-speed waving relationship with our neighbors. In talking with others who have moved here it turns out that it is not just us, but that isn't exactly good consolation.
In any case, this weekend we were prepared for Halloween in the same way that we had experienced it in our former home, where we averaged about 150 costumed children a year. We carved our pumpkins, bought our candy, turned out lights on, made pizza and opened a bottle of wine... and waited. Six o'clock came and went, and 7 o'clock followed quickly on it's heels, with nary a knock. At that point we were like someone being stood up on a blind date - checking the time, looking out the window, do we have the time and place right? What if all the trick-or-treaters are waiting at another house because there was a miscommunication?
A bit past 7:00, we finally heard a knock. I jumped up like a kid who might have heard Santa in the chimney on Christmas Eve, to find a ten-year-old in a black costume of some sort, that may or may not have been a poorly executed skunk. After encouraging her to take more candy than she thought was polite, I stared out onto the deserted street and noticed that we were the only ones with pumpkins out or even lights on at the door. Is our street just generally unfriendly or do others just not bother because there aren't many kids that come by? A true chicken and egg question to ponder for another time, but the single pseudoskunk was our lone visitor for the entire night. Two giant bowls of candy now sit, defeated, in the main office.
2 hours ago