Thursday, March 22, 2007

St Patrick's Day Memories

Am I Irish? Perhaps. My mother's maiden name is Mitchel. But even then, we're terrible mutts. I'm as white as a quivering narcissus and yet I somehow have Cuban blood.

Whether or not I actually have any Irish in me, I enjoyed Saint Patty's Day. I decided to spend the holiday here in ol' Sac'o'tomato with my wuv Dustin. We had somewhat of an adventure, I must say!

But to begin with, I'd like to describe the Friday before Saint Patty's Day at Cal Berkeley. There was much premature green to be seen! There was even a young gentleman with the Irish flag painted upon his face walking into a cafe at approximately 11am. Friday was a beautiful and bizarrely warm day. I sat at the fountain near the South Gate and read my copy of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" This did seem somewhat fitting; reading war stories written by an Irish American the sunny Friday before Saint Patty's Day.

But as is typical with this collection, I became a little sad. I was touched by O'Brien's account of how and when he was drafted. He had felt immune. He'd been a college man oblivious of the long-reaching fingers of the American Military. He'd been a liberal. Like me? He wasn't a radical. He wrote a few anti-war articles here and there. But could be considered a pacifist? No. And off to war he went.

I'm bothered by the expandability of military personal. But so far, I'm immune. I will never know what it's like to sit frightened in the humid jungle of Vietnam, nor will I endure the stinging heat and smothering sand of Iraq. So far, I'm immune. As a woman. As a college student. As a non-volunteer.

What does that have to do with Saint Patrick's Day? Sacrifice. And that's all I'll say about that.

So let's move on to an account of my actual SP insanity. I started my day at McKinley Park with my two-year-old nephew, Jimmy. He made me feel big for 5'4". I love that kid. After an hour or so of following around his joyous exploration of the wooden playground and chasing ducks and geese (which were comically almost twice his size), Dustin (my wuv) and I took my older sister (Jimmy's mother) out for a birthday brunch. How sweet must it be to have your birthday on Saint Patrick's Day? We ate at the Rio City Cafe. I stared down a snobby couple that attempted to sneer at us for bringing a toddler to their restaurant. People like that are such horrors.

After brunch is where the mischief began. Dustin and I attended a timeshare presentation put on by Trendwest. We had absolutely no intention in buying, we merely wanted the free gift and trip, and the opportunity to torment the salespeople. Now, I was not intending to Hunter Thomas these people as much as I eventually did. But man, they sure asked for it.

The young woman who was our main sales-rep' revealed herself immediately to be a remarkable example of the Stepford wife. She immediately began to engage Dustin--the man--and inquire as to his business. I gazed down at her paper and noticed that there was a space for my "job" as well. So I waited to be asked. But I wasn't. She almost completely ignored me the entire time (aside from asking to see my engagement ring), focusing all her energy on selling Dustin.

Thus, the fundamental feminist in me became enraged. When Dustin took leave to the restroom, the saleswoman began to ask me about where I wanted us to go for our honeymoon and what I was planning our wedding to be. I responded with the following: "We're not very traditional, he and I. We haven't given much thought to a honeymoon. Our wedding, however, will be entertaining. We're going to do it at the beach."

"Oh! The beach is so romantic!"

"Yes. Dustin wants to wear a Speedo and a bow tie. I'll be dressed as a belly dancer and we'll perform the ceremony in the water. In between the vows everyone will take a shot of hard alcohol and we want to have bagpipers in duck suits. We like duck suits."

She didn't speak to me beyond this. Our gift consisted of a DVD player and a three-day trip to Tahoe. Completely worth it.

The rest of the evening consisted of visits to friends and some mild adventures. We spent about 15 minutes at the Jammies before we realized that there wasn't much to see or listen to. We then enjoyed the rest of the night in our loft with music, food and friends. It was somewhat of a Ferris Bueller day. Had we wrecked a priceless collectible car, however, it would've been complete.

I enjoy Saint Patrick's Day very much, even though it's been branded as drunken amateur night. Unlike first-hand war experience, nobody is really immune to that.

Here's to your roof,
may it be well thatched
And here's to all
under it -
May they be
well matched.