I have been away from my blog for a few days due to the Hallowe'en holiday, a travesty of a tea party and a faulty immune system. The end of October crashed in a spectacular show of dismay and misery the likes of which haven't been seen since the volcano exploded over Pompeii covering the earth with poison air, ash and death.
Hallowe'en promised to be a good night. For the first time in many years I had no party to attend, was not dressing up and had no small children to tote around hitting the neighbors up for sweets. I know to some of you, the idea of not having a party to attend sounds like a complete social failure, but I have a son who's birthday is October 29th. As a result I usually have a Hallowe'en party to go to, clean up after and costumes to deal with all while planning a birthday party that must top last year's birthday party and arranging everyone's schedule around haunted houses, social gatherings, parties and plans. It can be a bit overwhelming. This year however, my daughter and I had a huge bowl full of good chocolate candy bars and Golden Girls on DVD. We put a blanket over us and settled in for a relaxing evening of snappy one-liners and sweaters with shoulder pads.
Then Friday came and it was time to do the shopping for this year's birthday party. My son has recently become enamored of all things British. Dr. Who and Sherlock are his two favorite shows on “the tele” and he faults his father on a daily basis for having made him with a woman who is Korean rather than a woman who is British. He eats special British “biscuits” called Jaffa Cakes and spends most of his morning trying desperately to make his hair look exactly like Matt Smith's hair. Needless to say, once this kid gets hooked on an idea, he immerses himself in it to the point of losing his own identity. So, to amuse him, I went to the world food market and bought $90 worth of weird British finger foods including blood sausage, Royal (something) biscuits, ginger crisps, and the particular chocolate truffles recommended to me by a fellow blogger – they were made of these shaved bits of chocolate, like a big bundle of chipped chocolate – and English tea that you make with the loose leaves and crème and everything I could think of to make a birthday tea a smashing success. Fortunately I adore nineteenth century British literature and have read a billion novels wherein people have tea and the meal is described. I actually probably served him a relic of bygone tea instead of a modern tea, but I'm American and generally have no idea what I'm doing, so give me a break. The glitch came in when he showed up to the table dressed in a black hoodie pulled down over his eyes, his dark grey wool coat buttoned up and his black hair combed down over the top half of his head. He slumped down in the seat and glared at his cell phone which he refused to put down. He was offered biscotti and marzipan and sparkling lemonade in a fancy bottle and anything I could think of and he wouldn't even look up. He either glared at the opposite wall or at his phone in his lap. I have attended more cheerful funerals. I have attended funerals where the corpse was in a better mood than the birthday boy. I even had a 3-D cake made in the shape of the Tardis. He didn't care. After the other four of us small talked our way through a tea thrown for someone else, we all got up and dispersed around the house. I lay down for a nap due to a slight headache which I assumed had been brought on by the strain of not killing my own child then bringing him back to life just so I could have the fun of killing him all over again and burying his body parts throughout the county. I needed to be well rested as I was due to go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show that evening with my friend.
I woke up at the appointed time ready to don my Magenta maid's costume and flare my ridiculously curly, frizzy hair out exactly the way it wants to be everyday anyway and put on my best gaudy make up. However when I woke up I realized that my headache had not gotten better, but in fact had gotten much worse. I called my friend, who was in her bathroom at the time, I am assuming getting ready and said something really very lame like “are you still planning on going tonight? Like do you still have plans to go?” Well, of course she had plans. That was the plan. Go to Rocky Horror Picture and throw things at the stage, see naked adult audience members run around and squirt water guns at people. I think I was somehow hoping she would be the one to wimp out of the plans at the last minute so that I, being the generous person that I am, could lovingly forgive her and tell her we'd do it another time. However, being the perceptive person she is, she said “do you need to cancel tonight?” Well, yeah, actually I did. Because the more awake I became, the more aware I became that I didn't simply have a headache. My throat was exceedingly sore and felt swollen and I was shivering even though I was lying under a sheet, my warm-fuzzy, a quilt and a down comforter. My skin was hot and achy. Oh crap! I was sick! I had not planned on that! Yes, in fact, I had a fever. Well that was just peachy. The last thing I remember thinking was that while I had been running late to pick up the special cake for the dismal day I had thrown on a sweater I had been holding on to to take back to the store because I bought it too big. Now then I couldn't take my sweater back because I had worn it to pick up a cake that got thrown away on a birthday that was a disaster just before an outing with a friend that didn't happen to a show I didn't get to see on a day that I got sick.
For the next several days I was an unwashed sickly lump in the wadded up covers of my bed; my only signs of life were occasional fits of violent shivering.
It turned out the moody teenager was highly upset over something that validly cracked his world. I did explain that he needed to say “Hey, I'm not up for this because such and such happened” or he needed to put on a fake smile and be grateful and pretend the world was okay. His adamant refusal to participate in life or talk to anyone or do anything but hurt the four people who loved him more than anything in the world with no explanation was not acceptable behavior. He understood and now I understand him... but this holiday would have been much improved if vampires, werewolves and zombies actually existed and had even decided to invade my town. I would have never put that sweater on to hunt monsters and now I'd be able to return it.