By Anne T. Donahue
One autumn, I vowed to take advantage of the season. I went apple picking. I suggested going with my friends on hayrides and to haunted houses. I wanted to be in closer physical proximity to leaves. I was going to have the Best Fall Ever™ and no one was going to stand in my way.
And, well, no one did. But also: ugh, activities. Apple picking? Hay rides? Acting as if frolicking in piles of leaves was an activity that matched my personality in any way? No. I hate it. But you may not. And in case you’re in the middle of truly missing the possibility of wrapping yourself up in a scarf, putting a hat on, and standing under a tree as if this is something you would naturally do, here is my argument that you’re not missing out on much, I promise, let’s just sit on a bench roughly six feet apart and complain about how cold we are.
In theory, this sounds just great. You go to an orchard, you pick dozens of apples, and then you buy those apples in addition to a slew of other apple-based delicacies, after participating in, say, a corn maze or, a very simple hike. Cute.
But here’s the thing: have you ever tried to consume a bushel of apples before they go bad? Have you ever been reduced to boiling and/or baking apples and forcing yourself to down gallons of applesauce because wasting food sucks? Have you ever shown up to an apple orchard too late in the season and been faced with apples that look more like plums, leading to you having to buy a bag of already-picked apples you could’ve just bought from your local store or market? Have you ever tried to carry a shit-ton of apples? Hell. It’s hell! Much like my friend and I realized one year when we went and discovered that it was humid and also cold, and that our picturesque autumn walk through the woods was filled with children I wasn’t allowed to curse near because doing so is “inappropriate.”
Just go to the grocery store or local market, buy some apples that already exist, and pose with the lot of them if you truly need that fall-centric content. We are adults. And honestly, even as a kid with my grandparents and mom, I was cool with leaving the orchard about ten minutes after we got there because even then I knew this life wasn’t for me.
A hayride to where, exactly? Where are you going? Why do you need this? Do you drive? Can you take public transit? Because those things are like hayrides without the allergic reactions and without wondering where you were going and why you made this decision. You know what’s more fun? Walking through a cemetery with a pal (hi Carly!) with enough distance between you that everybody is safe, looking for headstones that say things like “Revenge Shall Be Mine” (this exists in my hometown), and then almost getting locked in, leading to a panic that can’t be manufactured in any other way (again, hi Carly!).
Also, haunted hayrides are a scam. You will never see a real ghost.
Just kidding, these are amazing. Well, most are. Once I went on one where the host was an actor and hadn’t done any history homework, so he just relayed half-stories in a very dramatic tone. (Me: “But how did she die?” Him: “Oh, I don’t know.” The fuck am I paying for?)
But the good ones? The great ones? The ones hosted by older people who know exactly what the fuck they’re talking about and couldn’t care less if you’re afraid or not? A dream. An absolute dream. These hosts themselves may be the ghosts. And honestly, in the year of our lord 2020, that is the only content I am interested in.
Gross. Disgusting. Enclosed spaces with strangers? Are you joking? I have walked through a haunted house yelling, “IF YOU TOUCH ME, I WILL SUE YOU” and a friend once headbutt a guy who jumped out at her without ample warning. And this was years ago, long before a virus had descended on our species.
So does this sound fun? Is this an experience you’re thirsting for? Get out of here. You know what’s scarier than a haunted house anyway? Our reality. This autumn, I will simply stay logged onto the internet all day, reading the news, and screaming so loudly I’ve stopped making a sound.
I mean, maybe they’re fun. Maybe they’re ideal. I don’t know, because I will always buy my pumpkins from grocery stores and by “buy my pumpkins” I mean “buy a pumpkin pie that’s been made by a professional person because I don’t want to bake one, and I am too lazy to carve a pumpkin.” Also, I am 35 years old. Not a soul needs a photo of me sitting amidst a bunch of pumpkins when I can simply take a selfie of myself in a parking lot, eating McNuggets at 10 a.m.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!