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Scottish Halloween

At 6:26 p.m. on a Tuesday night, my friend Hassaan texted me asking me what I was doing. I responded that I was at the library (study abroad isn’t all fun and games — fun and games are just 99 percent of it). He said he was going to pick me up at 7:45 p.m. to go to a Halloween party. So, I hurried home (about a 15 minute walk) to try and quickly figure out a costume.

I soon realized that I had absolutely nothing that could even come close to posing as a costume, having packed only the bare essentials for my time in Aberdeen. The best I could come up with was a Tom Brady shirsey (shirt jersey for the uninitiated) and a pair of over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones, thus making me “Tom Brady walking into the stadium before the game.”

Flaws in the costume:

1. Tom Brady isn’t overly famous in Scotland. And if somebody has heard of him, there’s still an 80 percent chance they don’t care about him.
2. Wearing big headphones all night would be sweaty, hearing impairing and downright odd.
3. The name has a lot of syllables to rattle off when people ask what I am.
4. Only sports nerds like me care about the shots on CBS of the players walking into the stadium before the game, looking focused and ready for battle.
5. A billion other flaws that will just spike my word count.

Horrible idea. I was deflated. Sorry, sorry, I mean dispirited. So, out of options, “token American guy who’s just along for the ride” was the only remaining option. But don’t worry, my Steve Bannon costume is in the mail. OK fine, it’s just a zombie mask.  

We swung by the grocery store and picked up some vodka and Irn-Bru. Irn-Bru is a Scottish-made soda that the people here go absolutely nuts for. It’s what Moxie is to Maine but with a much higher enjoyment rate. The people who like Irn-Bru compare it to cream soda, those who don’t compare it to bubble gum. I lean more toward the bubble gum side but it’s a heck of a mixer.

Upon arrival at the party, a girl greeted us at the door and introduced herself as Maude. Hassaan clarified, “Sorry, Maude?” She laughed, blushed a tad and responded, “Yeah, Maude. I know it’s kind of a weird name.” I said, “Oh, like ‘Harold and Maude,’” excited by the prospects of the perfect icebreaker. “Harold and Maude” was a movie my mom made me watch a number of years ago, which, to say the least, I never ever forgot. The Google summary says it all: “Cult classic pairs Bud Cort as a deadpan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Ruth Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old eccentric. They meet at a funeral, and develop a taboo romantic relationship, in which they explore the tired theme of the meaning of life with a fresh perspective.”

Bizarre, I know, and some might even call it disturbing. But it’s got an 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and the Cat Stevens soundtrack is fantastic. Anyway, back to Aberdeen Maude.

“Uh…yeah?” she responded.

“What a weird movie, right?!”

She gave me a blank stare, clearly not knowing “Harold and Maude.” I broke the awkwardness with the timeless classic, “I hope you don’t mind my asking where the bathroom is.” How does a girl named Maude not know what “Harold and Maude” is?!?

Either way, the party was fun and really not too different from a party in the United States. People danced to the same rap and pop songs we dance to in America and the beer pong table measurements were the same as back home (of course I took out my tape measure a la Norman Dale in “Hoosiers”). And with the vodka Irn-Bru and an assortment of uniquely Scottish snacks discussed in my last column, I felt like a native.

Well, the Sir Duncan Rice Library beckons and so does a can of (you guessed it) Irn-Bru. Until next time, Black Bears.


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