A couple nights ago, Steve and I did something we haven’t done in a long time. We went to a party on a school night. And it wasn’t just any party. It was a tequila party for the Day of the Dead. Yes. The Day of the Dead was Monday, but everyone knows a party with tacos and tequila is definitely meant to be held on a Tuesday. So, the holiday got extended an extra day just for us. ¡Qué buena suerte!
We moved into our house in July of 2020, when most of the homes on our street hadn’t yet been completed and the pandemic kept us from spending much time with the few neighbors we did have. We had our first get together with some of the neighbors on our street early last month when we met outside for Happy Hour, which quickly became Happy Five Hours. When you buy a new home, you keep your fingers crossed that the people who live around you will be, at the very least, respectful neighbors. But it is a joy and blessing when you realize the people who live on your block are not only respectful but also helpful, kind, and the equivalent of a cavalcade-of-puppies worth of fun. On the evening of the happy hour at our next door neighbor’s house, the neighbors next to them on the other side said they would be hosting a Day of the Dead party with tequila on Taco Tuesday the day after the Day of the Dead. The hosts explicitly told me then that makeup was highly encouraged to go with the theme and we should not be lame and show up without. This, of course, was all said tongue-in-cheek, but I am a people-pleasing rule follower so I took it to heart.
At my next trip to Target I purchased Halloween face make up so it wouldn’t sell out before I was able to purchase it. I did not want to disappoint our hosts and I definitely didn’t want to be the lame one.
So, on Tuesday night about the time the party was set to get underway, Steve and I tried our level best to put on Day of the Dead faces. I applied my makeup in honor of my Grandma Charlotte. After a solid 30 minutes, we had subpar-but-finished Day of the Dead faces, so we walked over to the neighbor’s house. As soon as we walked in, we realized we were the only ones who had gone to such extensive lengths with our makeup. Although we felt like big dorks, we got right down to tequila tasting and that feeling dissipated.
After one rough night in my early twenties, I have traditionally only tolerated tequila in margaritas and had told myself I would not be drinking any tequila on a school night because, well, Wednesday responsibilities. That went out the window in the first five minutes, though. Our amazing hosts had many different tequilas for sampling and one bottle, appropriately named Los Vecinos (“the neighbors”) for a raffle. We learned the traditional Colombian toast (Arriba! Abajo! Al centro! Al dentro!) and we were off to the races. My favorite was the Cava de Oro Extra Anejo.
In addition to the tequila, the hosts had provided taco fixings and all the neighbors had shown up with tasty side dishes. Their home was tastefully decorated for the holiday. We met neighbors we didn’t meet last month. Everyone ate and drank and mingled and tried new things and laughed and enjoyed the evening. When Steve and I finally left and walked our next door neighbors to their front walk, it was after 11 on a school night. We had done it! We’d broken the streak of dull, pandemic weeknights at home. There we were, happily toasted on a Tuesday. Although our face makeup had long since dried up and was falling off onto our clothing, we were grateful for the opportunity to relax with some wonderful new friends who happen to live mere yards away.
I learned a few lessons on Tuesday night. First, putting on decent make up for a Day of the Dead fiesta is a lot harder than you would imagine. Second, there’s no not having tequila at a tequila tasting unless you want to be lame, and I never want to be lame again. Third, I like my tequila extra anejo, like me. Fourth, even at 53, you can totally party on a Tuesday night and function on Wednesday, although it might require a willingness to miss some sleep and to take an Advil for a teeny, tiny headache. And fifth, sometimes you buy a dream house and you get dream neighbors too.
I know what you’re thinking now and, sadly, we have no homes for sale on our block at this time. Sorry. For now, these premium vecinos are spoken for.