Join me, reader, as we envision the following: Sarah Jessica Parker in the backseat of a town car on Oct. 31, 2016. A Divorce script on her lap, a Blackberry in one hand and her assistant’s iPhone in the other. Scrolling through Instagram, she sees comments from her pal Amy Sedaris, a new follow from @ComeToBrazilSJP and then, hmm, a tag notification from a certain Brian Burns (that’s me).
It’s a picture in which I’m dressed in a tank top and white tutu with a plush dinosaur strapped around my stomach as I’m splayed against the side of a city bus. “Sarah Jurassic Park-er,” she coos, maybe smiling to herself as she sets down the lowly Apple product.
But not before “liking” my photo. And altering my life — sadly but truly — forever.
I know a great thing when I see it. And what’s greater than @SJP stamping her cyberseal of approval on a costume that got punny with her name? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And so right around the time of year when I could feel the Halloween season click, I began conceptualizing a Bradshawian sequel that, with any luck, would be more “An American Girl In Paris: Part Deux” than Sex and the City 2.
I still had my tank and tutu leftover from Halloween 2016, the former having come from a Hanes five-pack and the latter a child’s ballerina costume with a disturbingly generous waistband. Coupled with my $30 “Brian” nameplate that’s more faux-gold than Trump’s candelabras, all I needed was some new wordplay. Sarah Jessica Ballpark? Snooze. Sarah Jessica Park Ranger? Shrug. And then... voila.
Sarah. Jessica. Parking Ticket.
After settling on file folders due to the dollar store’s lack of poster board in the vehement shade of orange I desired, I set out crafting my own parking tickets to then affix onto my ensemble. A prompt phone call to my lead-footed mother set me right on how they should look. And with the added help of kitchen shears and my roommate’s stapler, the look was complete. I went sans wig because there’s nothing glamorous about violating traffic laws. I also sweat a lot.
Willing and eager to freeze my literal ass off in commitment to Carrie, a friend and I walked to a nearby college Halloween party. Both of us recent enough graduates to make our attendance only kind of embarrassing.
“What are you?” I was asked by every Alexa Acquaintance and Corey Classmate I hadn’t seen in 18 months. Upon hearing my answer, they universally responded, “Oh!”
This isn’t to say I was expecting a more raucous response. A costume is never as clever to anyone else as it is to the costumed. But after leaving my friend behind at the bar where last call was serving up more for her than just a drink, I had a thought: Perhaps I’d been stopped long enough in a city I should have considered a no-parking-past-graduation zone. That instead of veering off in a new direction, I’d stayed in my same lane and was being justly disciplined for doing so. Looking both ways for oncoming traffic, I couldn’t help but wonder, when all signs are forbidding us from stopping, why can’t we just go?