Today is my oldest niece's 6th birthday. It makes me feel really old to remember a time when this person didn't exist and now they are practically a teenager (kids today grow up so much faster than we did). Naturally I got all nostalgic about the night Miss Ally Paige was born...(insert clip of Wayne and Garth wiggling their fingers diddly doo diddly doo diddly doo as the screen dissolves into black and white).
APRIL 13, 2005
The reason I was not present for the birth of my brother Scott's firstborn was because I was goofing off with the rest of the advanced placement English students in Ashland, Oregon. We were all at the Shakespeare Festival, a kickass celebration of the Bard and adolescent tomfoolery. The APES to Ashland trip was on occasion notorious for normally well-behaved honors students to get footloose and fancy free, Oregon-style. And after studying our fannies off the whole year for the AP test, it was time to rock out with our codpieces out. Of course the year we were finally old enough to go, the administration (read: The Man) decided to get tough about kids sneaking booze, pot, and other various paraphernalia of debauchery (how do you like them SAT words?). Anyone caught during the random suitcase searches would be sent home immediately and worse. Well, crap. I guess we'd just have to enjoy the quaint Ashland scenery and Elizabethan theatre (note the 're' spelling).
Ashland Shakespeare Festival
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Shakespeare. But I was looking forward to some crazy "what happens in Ashland, stays in Ashland" stories. Especially since I had never done anything wild in my life. (Unless you count buying condoms and chocolate pudding from Raley's the year before as a gag gift). Nevertheless, my friends and I were having a great time crammed into a tiny hotel room with a buffet of delicious treats (I recall cheez-its, mini muffins, and gummy bears specifically). Things did get a little wacky when we were all simultaneously locked out of our rooms and had an impromptu hall party that was promptly squashed. Then my friend somehow made our toilet explode into a beautiful fountain and we had to have maintenance come save us from the rushing tide of toilet water. We rewarded them with mini-muffins.
That night we all got ready for our non-Shakespeare night. We got to see Forever Plaid at a cabaret type theater, which was quite the treat. It was kind of a broadway meets barbershop quartet show that was just delightful. During the intermission I checked my voicemail and discovered that my sister-in-law, Nay, had gone into labor earlier that day! I could barely concentrate during the second half knowing that I was about to become an aunt for the first time! As we piled back onto the bus after the show, I announced to all that I was officially an aunt at the tender age of seventeen. My fellow students didn't seem as excited for me, but I was walking on air! Though I was a little pissed that I missed the birth itself. Miss Ally, impatient as ever, decided she couldn't wait to terrorize the world until her Aunt Pooe (long story) could get to the hospital. Silly girl.
When we got back to the hotel, a bunch of us had gathered in our hotel room to hang out, watch TV, plunder our junk food buffet, and do whatever it is teenagers abroad do. It wasn't enough for me though. We had to celebrate the occasion by doing something crazy! They had already taken away the booze we would never have had the guts to bring anyway, so a toast was out of the question. We were high enough on sugar, like cracked out little squirrels. Looking for some way to act out against the Man's oppression, we decided to go on a quest for porn. Don't ask me how we came to that conclusion. None of us had seen any before, and felt this was a rite of passage we had missed. The only place we could think to find some was the Albertson's across the street. Surely they had some sort of dirty magazine we could giggle and shriek over.
So about eight of us snuck out into the hall when Mr. Duda caught us red-handed. "Where are you guys going?" He demanded. Me, "We have to make a quick Albertson's trip." (Which was true.) "What could you possibly need from Albertson's at this time of night?" (It was like 10pm). Me, not missing a beat, "It's personal." To which Mr. Duda got really flustered and most likely assumed I meant feminine hygiene products. "Oh, well you can take one person with you, but be quick about it." So I took Kirsten, the only one of us who was 18 and could legally purchase pornography. We headed across the street to Albertson's, barely avoiding getting hit by cars.
After looking around the store for a good 20 minutes, we discovered that grocery stores in Ashland do not carry porn. What a shame. But the porn wasn't the point. It was the epic and dangerous quest, fraught with peril in the form of grumpy old English teachers and speeding vehicles. We couldn't go back empty-handed. So we scoured the store for something to bring back as proof that we had made it. Then we came across the kitchenware aisle. The plastic spatulas seem to have a heavenly light about them. Of course! Spatulas! Spatulas are just as good as porn! So we bought two of them (and some batteries for my camera) and ran back across the treacherous street, laughing hysterically all the way.
We walked back into the hotel room, the spatulas behind our backs. TA DA!! We revealed our loot, and the group seemed a little confused. But being just as hopped up on sugar as we were, they suddenly burst into peals of laughter too. We had a mock swordfight with our kitchen utensils and collapsed on the floor.
When I finally got back into town and was able to visit Miss Ally Paige in the hospital, my brother Nick and I bought her a yellow duck we named Spatula with a promise to explain the story one day when she was older.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALLY!!