Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some best laid plans...

We had big hair and loud shirts. Neon plastic wasn't just for traffic cones and fishnet adorned way too many body parts. I wouldn't be caught dead in a side ponytail but I wore my lavender moccasins out. Dolph Lundgren slept above my head and I saved my babysitting money to buy records. For a turntable. For records. That people now turn into servingware.

It was 1980-something and my best friend S. was turning 18. I thought I'd be the extremely nice person that I am, was, err, am (har) and throw her a surprise party. Our local pizza hangout had an upstairs loft that you could reserve and it was outfitted with a big screen complete with a Betamax, a Miss Pacman table game and had heavily lacquered wooden furniture that obnoxious teenagers couldn't (barely) hurt. It was the perfect place.

I managed to procure the private area for a Friday night and started planning the party. Invitations were sent to our core group of friends and a few new ones, the food was arranged, the decorations bought, and helpers recruited. It was looking like a good time to be had, even absent the wine coolers and clove cigarettes which would be consumed and smoked later that night. It was going to be very John Hughes. Very Breakfast Club. Very Cool. Well, except it was just pizza and not at school and we were drama nerds, but you get my drift.

S. had no clue what I was up to. I was totally stoked that I was hopefully going to pull this off. And I barely had to threaten anyone with a grizzly and bloody death if they flapped their lips and spoiled the surprise. I managed to weave an elaborate and expertly bullshitted story about the night and how S. needed to meet me at the pizza place rather than us going together as usual and arranged for another one of our friends to pick her up.

The night finally arrived and my helpers and I met early at the pizza place to decorate with streamers and birthday signs and balloons all in S's favorite colors. At the last minute I got the super mega brilliant idea to fill one of the balloons to capacity with glitter. Lot's of glitter. A metric ton of glitter.

My plan was to pop it over her head, imagining a beautiful scene of sparkles and silver snow gently floating over her strawberry blond tresses while she throws back her head and squeals with laughter, slowly spinning in a circle through the tiny diamonds raining down on her perfect night and thinking to herself that she has the bestest friend in the whole wide world. Teen movie worthy. Totally.

Everything was coming off without a hitch. We were gathered and ready for the birthday girl to arrive. We finally spotted her and I ordered everyone quiet while S. made her way cautiously up the stairs. When she reached the top a hearty SURPRISE was screamed in unison and she was stunned with happiness. I was equally pleased for pulling this off and making my best friend's birthday a special one.

As things got underway with food and chatter I remembered my "extra" surprise. I snuck behind her, grabbed the balloon and a pair of scissors, and raised them both above her head. And just as I brought the sharp tip of my shears to the thin skin of the balloon she turned around to see what I was up to behind her back and LOOKED DIRECTLY AT IT.

I hadn't realized that my best girl had the reaction time of a drunken two-toed sloth who hasn't slept in a week, but in the time between the deafening POP and the avalanche of glitter onto her face she didn't manage to close her mouth OR her friggen eyes.

She was positively blinded with 4 pounds of multi-colored glitter and could hardly breathe due to her mouth jammed-packed with the stuff. While I tried to contain my fit of hysterical laughter (I'm such an asshole) we spent the next hour trying to clear her vision and lessen the pain of having tiny shards of sharp material plastered across her corneas and attempted to subdue her coughing fits that looked something like a circus clown spewing sparks onto an unwilling audience.

I did not come out smelling like the rose I'd hoped for, (many looks of that god damn Betty) and I swear we found glitter in her hair for about 6 months after that, but all was well in the end and our friendship remains intact today.

I'm just not allowed near balloons.


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