I know people who are forever contemplating the meaning of their existence. They possess an incessant need for comfort and pep talks. They spend hours analyzing their lives and are forever trying to figure out their place in the universe. Me? I don’t need to figure out where I should be in the universe. I figure I will wander to my right place eventually, and my only concern with that place is that when I get there, there is enough chocolate to keep me happy.
My needs in life are simple and chocolate is one of those needs that is essential to my existence – thus the term “needs”. If chocolate wasn’t essential, I would list it as an indulgence or a treat, but for me it is a must. Chocolate is my anti-anxiety, energy-boosting aphrodisiac that gets my day on the right track. Is it an addiction? I don’t think so. There are days I go without, and I don’t get the shakes or have headaches or roam the streets looking for a fix. However, in the fall and spring when all the neighborhood kids come around selling their candy bars for teams, schools, clubs or troops, I am there ready to lend support -- whatever the cause. I don’t even listen to the cause. If there is chocolate involved, I am buying.
I think the kids know this too. I am pretty sure they all keep a list as to who are the best chocolate purchasers in the neighborhood. If the schools and clubs were smart, they would sell each other the lists, and then they would know that I am an easy mark. I should get an award for all the kids’ causes I support.
Anyway, this year I have already bought candy in support of public education, catholic education, Quaker education (we’re in Pennsylvania), field hockey, cheerleading and a high school band. I would have purchased from the Boy Scouts, but they went healthy on me. They were selling fat free popcorn and all natural snacks. If you are coming to my door to sell stuff, that stuff better be fattening, sugary and have at least a chocolate chip baked in there somewhere. Dried fruit is not getting you a sale!
Okay, I guess I have made my point about the importance of chocolate in my life. I needed to stress this point because Halloween is coming, and we all know that this holiday is king when it comes to chocolate. I loved when my daughter was little and she would get bags of chocolate. Being the conscientious mother that I was, I had to test each piece before she could eat it. Hey, there was no pervert GPS systems back then that told you what houses were out to poison or molest you. No, you relied on rumor and the police blotter in the paper to know who to avoid on Halloween. And if you were not in the crime-reporting loop, you had to test your kid’s Halloween candy.
Now, that she doesn’t trick-or-treat anymore, and her goal for Halloween is to find the best body-baring costume available on the market, I have lost my Halloween chocolate connection. I tried to rent the toddler across the street, but his mother seems to possess the same love of chocolate as me, so she is not giving him up. I dressed up the dogs too, but people were giving them Milk Bones – not Milk Duds, so that grew old quickly. I do get a cut of a friend’s grandson’s candy, but that is only if I buy my friend a round of drinks the next night. I have consented to do that.
Fortunately for me, I am in one of those neighborhoods where all the homes have turned over recently. Yep, all the old people have moved on to the 55+ assisted living communities and new younger couples with trick-or-treating-age kids have moved in. Why is this important to me? Well, I have to once again buy lots and lots of Halloween candy. My doorbell rings incessantly on Halloween, so I have to have bowls of candy on hand.
This year, I bought my first bags of mixed chocolate bars on October 1st when the supermarket put them on sale. Those bags lasted until the 5th. So, when I went back to the store on the pretense of buying produce, I bought two more bags. I opened the second one last weekend. If you are worried that all this chocolate is putting the pounds on me, do not fret. Each morning, I hit the gym for an hour because I know that the chocolate is just waiting to be devoured. The bags of chocolate call to me; I literally hear them calling my name.
“Donna, come find us. We know you want us. We are up in the cupboard that is out of your reach.”
Yes, that is exactly what the chocolate bars say, and the chocolate bars are right. They are out of reach. I stick the bags in the cabinet above the refrigerator. In order to get at that chocolate, I need to climb on a chair and use my spatula to grab them from the back of the cupboard which is no easy trick.
Yesterday, I went to Costco, and they had on sale their super-duper size bag of chocolate bars. I love this bag. It has Snickers and Milky Ways and Almond Joys and Twix and KitKats, and I drool just thinking about all those chocolate goodies. Did the bag make it to my out-of-the-way cupboard in my kitchen? Well, that was my intention; I swear. But it was pouring when I was leaving Costco, so instead of throwing the bag into the back of the tailgate of my Escape where it would be out of reach, I sort of threw it in the front seat with me, and it was raining, and I didn’t have lunch and it was cold and I was hungry and it was raining – did I say that already? Anyway, that bag is short about three Twixes, two KitKats and five Snickers. Hey, don’t judge me – it’s a nine-mile drive from Costco to my house, and it’s a route saturated with red lights! What am I supposed to do, just sit there waiting for the lights to turn green and do nothing?
So, this is my new plan: I am going to buy one more bag of candy, and that’s it. If the neighborhood kids want trick-or-treats, they have to get to my house by 8 PM on Halloween night. After that, the porch light goes off, the scary movies on my TV go on, and the bags of chocolate become legally mine! I can’t wait for the Easter Bunny!