When I was almost 14 years old my mother took me to Los Angeles, California to visit my Aunt Dot. As always, it was in August – the slow time of year for her business. I don’t remember if we drove down – sans air conditioning, at night, through Nevada – or whether we took the train down so I could experience taking the train and sleeping in a sleeper. Hint: It is overrated. Second hint: AC is a marvel.
My Aunt arranged for me to go to Disneyland as a birthday present. Big deal for a farm kid from rural Idaho. I remember seeing Cinderella’s castle and almost running over a little old lady in front of me by mistake. Oops. I didn’t see her. Honest. Clearly, it made an impression on me since I’ve never forgotten it.
After spending a great deal of time going through the Castle, on the teacup ride, and going 20,000 leagues under the sea – probably other things as well – we decided to have lunch in a small cafe on the grounds. It was nothing special. No waitresses dressed in costume. I think I had a cheeseburger.
Then, right at the edge of my hearing I heard the Birthday song. I looked up to see who was having a birthday. All of a sudden every freaking waitress in the place was marching towards my table. The one in front was bearing a cupcake with a candle. Me! I was having a birthday!
I gave my mother and aunt the look of death. I hate being made a fuss over – then and now. Being an introvert does that to ya, I guess. I remember sitting there, looking at the floor, hoping there would be a crack that would open up and swallow me whole. Unfortunately, the wooden floor didn’t seem to come with a lot of convenient cracks the size of human body. I never looked up, despite all the stamping of feet and clapping of hands. I didn’t eat the cupcake, either. I sort of crawled out of the place, face red.
Aunt Dot and Mom later swore up and down on a stack of Tiki gods that they had no idea asking for a cupcake for my birthday would trigger a birthday pageant.
Happy freaking Birthday, kid.
who has never been back to Disneyland, having been scarred for life 😉