Saturday, August 8, 2009

Birthday Bash (Pt. 3)

Recently, after a round of near-lethal apple Martinis, my mother drunkenly confided to me that my 7th birthday will always stand out as one of her most cherished memories of motherhood. Remarkably, she can recall the color of balloons (red), flavor of the cake (chocolate - baked from scratch!), and the number of guests who attended. With a look of quiet contentment, she muses how at first I was reluctant to ride the miniature ponies and baby elephants she and my father graciously rented for the occasion, but with some gentle prodding from the assemblage (and the press), straddled the little beasts with gusto and delighted everyone by bravely cantering around the backyard, smiling and whooping it up madly. My mother's eyes moisten and her voice cracks as she recalls how I gently blew her a kiss and lovingly mouth 'Je t'aime maman' while surrounded by a treasure trove of presents as the crowd sang a rousing and stirring version of 'Happy Birthday To You.'

"You were so precious - so darling! We were all so happy then." She recalls, her moist eyes giving way to full-blown tears.

For a moment, I am dumbstruck as I have no memory of this party. When I further probe my mother, I realize with horror she has mentally co opted the infamous birthday party scene from the film 'MOMMIE DEAREST' and unconsciously inserted herself in the part of Joan Crawford and relegated the role of the long-suffering Christina to me.

That about sums up my childhood experience with birthday parties. Not only did my mother never make me a birthday party, she has brazenly and conveniently pilfered scenes from infamous films and TV shows and chosen to mentally store them as her own personal birthday memories. I'm certain that in the near future she will recall how at my 8th birthday, our devoted live-in housekeeper Alice, made a delicious Gateau De
Chantilly, as my siblings Marsha, Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter, and Bobby sang their own adult-contemporary version of 'Happy Birthday' to me while she cuddled up to her loving, permanent wave-wearing husband, Mike.

When one takes into account my staggering inexperience and naivete regarding children's birthday party etiquette, it's easy to understand how I could have made a few small, inconsequential faux pas at Cody's creepy, over-the-top birthday grande fete. As Ethan and I made our way down the obnoxious red carpet, the rent-a-paparazzi swooped in and nearly blinded me with their flash bulb assault. I resembled Posh Beckham, and covered my face stoically as I hadn't taken the time to shave, do my hair nor change out of my creased, wrinkled pajamas. My son Ethan on the other hand, worked the red carpet like a withered old pro. While preening for the cameras, I half-expected he would announce to the assembled 'press' whom he was wearing and shamelessly plug his upcoming film projects.

Once past the phalanx of intrusive photographers, Ethan and I stumbled into the grand foyer of Cody's mansion. A liveried butler gave us the stink eye, whisked away our measly gift, and grudgingly beckoned us to join the festivities in the garishly decorated main salon. As Ethan raced off to join his school chums who at the present time were lasciviously and obscenely licking the icing off a Cat Woman cake, I ventured forth to acknowledge and thank our hosts before making a speedy departure.

The sheer size of the house, and the outrageous number of invited guests made locating our hosts difficult. Thankfully, I caught a glimpse of one of Cody's two dads, whom I will call 'The Duchess' barking orders at the cowering waitstaff. After a round of requisite gay-boy air kisses and meaningless LA small-talk, I innocently inquired as to what time the party was going to wrap up so that I knew when to pick my kid up. The Duchess looked flabbergasted.

After giving me a steely look she remarked "You can certainly leave Ethan, but do you really think that's a good idea? I mean there are so many people, so many 'entertainments'...I just don't feel comfortable accepting that kind of responsibility."

An awkward silence passed and I continued to stare dumbly at The Duchess. With mounting panic, it began to dawn on me that there would be no sweet escape for me. My dream of running to yoga and a quick coffee in Larchmont Village were dashed to bits on the hard, unforgiving shores of hideous parental responsibility island.

"No, I guess not." I responded lamely.

"Of course not." The Duchess soothingly cooed back, "Now, go find the bar darling, our bartenders are moy caliente."

As I was now formally dismissed, The Duchess was free to continue the relentless debasement of the rented staff. I mercifully located the bar out by the enormous, Olympic-size swimming pool. As I sipped on a blood-red watermelon Mojito, I began to wonder when the rules for children's birthday parties changed. When did it become compulsory for parents to attend these things? As a child, my parents were startlingly young and attractive, they wouldn't have been caught dead at the same children's birthday party as me. (I was way too nerdy and awkward for them) Why was my pathetic presence necessary here? Laying supine on a lounge chair, I was on my third Mojito, fucked-up and feeling really sorry for myself, when God took pity on me. Like Neptune, a scantily clad man rose from the depths of the pool, hoisted himself to the pool deck, and shook the water from his gleaming blond hair and rippling body.

He extended his hand and said, "Greetings land-lover, I'm Aquaman would you like to pet my sea snake?"

(To Be Continued)

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