There’s nothing like a wedding shower to make you feel uncomfortable….
Last weekend I packed up my paddywagon, my little dog and all, and headed down to San Diego. There was a wedding shower to attend and family to visit.
So I am sitting in the kitchen talking with Mom and Howard about their trip to Hawaii, where they stayed, what they did and I realize…. it is July 20th. That is past mid-July. My mother’s birthday is in mid-July. And I forgot her birthday last year as well. This feeling of dread starts doing a tapdance in my stomach as I ask after a long silence:
“Mom, were you in Hawaii for your birthday?”
Alright then. Forgetting your mother’s birthday one year makes you a bad daughter. Forgetting you mother’s birthday two years in a row is grounds for a hanging. Howard (Mom’s husband) was casting looks of death over her shoulder which I pretended were directed toward the potted plant just behind me. Them leaving for some exotic locale did not set off any alarm bells because they are always flitting to some place or another in my paltry defense. God, that defense couldn’t excuse me out of a paper bag.
Notice to all who know and may slightly care about me! If you have a birthday/anniversary FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! I GUARANTEE I will not remember it. There is a chip in my brain -the one that makes me so charming- but one of the side affects is an incapacity to remember any special event. For the longest time, until well into high school, if you had asked me when Christmas was I would have said December 31st. If you put a gun to my head right now and asked me how old I was in 6th grade I would expire. My best friend knows this. Around a week before her birthday she knows to get out the gong and start’a ringing.
The hilarious thing is I cannot remember any birthday in the world EXCEPT*
One of the reasons I went down to San Diego was to go to my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. Yes everyone, she is getting married again to a bigger and better husband and festivities accompany such an event. One of these festivities was a bridal shower- where one gives gifts to the bride and there is cake and whatnots. Or so I thought. Going into this brouhaha I believed it to be a sort of birthday party for the bride and I could not have been more wrong.
Picture me showing up at the to-be husband’s mother’s house with no make-up on, jeans and a black tank top. My present (a meager, meager present) is flung with nonchalance over my shoulder and I march on in, unaware just how inappropriate I am. Well, in full, crystal clear, techno-vision detail the awareness hits me when I realize that NO ONE ELSE IS DRESSED LIKE THAT! Everyone is in little sun dresses, wearing little heels with their faces made-up and their hairdos curled. It was like there was a dress code memo sent out that I was too busy sleeping under my rock to receive.
So I try to hide my blotchy skin tone and blemished face by stuffing it full of food the entire time.
The event was punctuated with bridal shower games. How much does the bride know about her husband to be- well there will be gum in her mouth for every question she gets wrong! Haha, fun! Play a game of darts where the target is the groom’s face and the darts are a kiss! Haha, wonderful! Let’s make dresses out of toilet paper and award a prize to the winners! Isn’t this just swell? It was, until we get to the quiz game. Everyone gets a pen and paper and they are asked questions about the bride to see who knows her the best. Her mother was disqualified because she giving birth to her is an unfair advantage. Anyway, we are writing down our answers to a seemingly unending list of questions – Is she scuba certified? What sport did she play in high school? What is her favorite dessert? Where was she born? What is her birthday
Afterward we tally the answers, her nearest and dearest friends and then me, that chick that glides down from Los Angeles inappropriately attired and stuffs her face to avoid being more awkward. And I tied for the highest score.
I rattled out answers. NO! Cheer! Creme Brulee! Yuma! On Saint Patrick’s Day! (And THAT is where the ‘*except’ from above comes in. I knew her birthday. A miracle of miracles which convinces me that I might have been possessed.) Every time they asked a question the answer just glided into my head until even I was confounded by it. Why the hell do I know so much about this person? I kept asking myself, tallying the scores three times to make sure.
Since they only bought one prize the tie would have to be broken- the tie between me and a very close friend of hers. Now what I should have done at this point was generously said, “No, no. It is completely fine. Give her the prize. I probably subconsciously cheated anyway.”
But I didn’t do that. Seized in the grip of a competitive madness I forged on as the poor women playing the game were forced to come up with one question after another to lob at us. Finally the tie breaker occurred.
“What color are John’s eyes and what color was his hair as a baby?”
“Hazel and flaxen blonde!” It was like I was possessed by some stalker demon who knew everything about these poor people.
That was it. I was the “winner”.
“Wow, I didn’t know you knew so much about me.” The bride-to-be said, looking markedly uncomfortable and stretching out to hand me my loofa gift prize without getting too close.
“Yes,” I wanted to say. “I know everything about you. I am obsessed. I know where you sleep, what you eat and who you love. Do not anger me or I will take everything that you hold dear.”
And so the moral is, if you know your mother’s birthday you don’t get diddly squat, but if you know your husband’s sister’s birthday then you get a loofa and almond butter body wash.