Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day Retrospective

Life (for me at least) is pretty much defined by memories of people and places. This poses a challenge- as my short-term and often my long-term memory are basically worthless. I barely remember anything without some kind of an aid; be it visual, tactical or sensory. One thing I’ve found is that if there is a specific day with specific elements, I can easily remember where I was and what I was doing. Like my birthday, for instance- I can remember what I was doing on February 1st 1998 as clearly as I remember February 1st 2008.
St. Patrick’s day is another one of those days.

The first St. Patrick’s day that I remember clearly was in ninth grade; I was 15 and it was 1996. I was the Feature’s editor of my Jr. High School’s newspaper and, along with two of the other editors who happened to be my best friends, I was taken on a trip to NY to take part in a “Newspaper Convention” at Columbia University. The moment we stepped off the plane, our chaperone Mrs. Guerra fell ill with a severe version of the flu or bronchitis or something. Needless to say, neither Tina nor Josh nor I attended even one lecture during the convention. Instead, we smoked cloves out of the Howard Johnson window. Alanis Morissette was in her prime and “Ironic” had just come out as a single. We listened to Alanis as MTV blasted on high volume from the fuzzy motel television while we plotted our excursions sans-chaperone. It was that trip that I first fell in love with Betsey Johnson and her store. She has remained one of my favorite designers ever since that trip (even though my mom tells me that I’m too old to wear her clothes). I remember getting a nose bleed in the dressing room in her Upper East Side store while trying to pull a hot pink leopard corset over my head. We ate at “Fashion Café” and snuck out late at night to get cinnamon coffee from the deli across the street.
What rebels?!
I suppose we could have been much worse, but according to the three of us- we had been emancipated. The last day of the trip fell on St. Patrick’s Day. We walked up to 5th avenue and lost ourselves in the parade amidst the pot-of-gold floats and leprechaun balloons. A photo of our motley crew ended up appearing in the background of a shot that was published in one of the major NY newspapers…which one? I can’t now remember. That was the only journalism related experience we had on our “Newspaper convention” expedition.
Isn’t it ironic?

This year’s holiday was far less interesting. I didn’t know it was St. Patty’s Day until Google reminded me with its shamrock banner. My day, the least interesting St. Patrick’s Day yet, began at an ungodly hour with a verbose plumber droning on and on about his money and his model ex-girlfriend instead of fixing the hot water heater. A day later, the water is still cold- but at least I can warm myself in the knowledge of the plumbers’ five (mortgage free) properties! The highlight of my day was by far in my hip-hop class when the fat woman who thinks she can dance kept stealing my spot every time I walked away to get a drink of water- resulting in an interesting altercation…I don’t think she’ll be taking hip hop again anytime soon.

Last year, St. Patrick’s Day 2007, was a bit more fun. I was living in Dubai and I went to a beach party until evening fell and a massive party ensued at “The Irish village” with Irish bands, dancers, and a profusion of green beer. The holiday ended late-night in Jumeirah Beach Hotel with caviar, champagne and the cream of Dubai society.
2006- A group of us went to the parade in Hoboken New Jersey, dressed and painted in green. I made out with my best friend’s younger roommate on the subway ride home. Made his night.
2005- Rolling 30 deep in an Irish Bar Crawl and 5th Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
2004- Rome- “Piazza Dei Fiori” celebrations. Again, no one in our entourage was Irish but we sure acted like we were.
2003- Washington DC at our “local” Irish bar, “McFaddens,” for an all-dayer and later, dinner on the waterfront.
2002- By far, the best St. Patty’s to date- DUBLIN, IRELAND!!!! (5 day festival of Guinness, green food, and parades).

Next year? I will be well into my MBA in Spain and surely doing something marvelous. I’ll doubtless look back at today and remember the long-winded plumber and the overweight bitch in dance class. I’ll be glad that I’m there- and not here.

Although, things could be worse.

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day!


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