After experiencing the birthday party Syd went to last Saturday, I don't think we can, in good faith, use the word "Extravaganza" in the name of our website anymore. This party (for a six-year-old boy I doubt I would recognize again if he kicked me in the...shins) was, to paraphrase George Thomason, unbe-smurfing-lievable.
I arrived fashionably late and in fact, wouldn't have arrived at all had Liza not called me in a tizzy saying she really had to go to the bathroom and there was no way in Komarno she was using the port-o-potty. Faced with a dilemma, studying for actuarial exams vs. attending a birthday party with who knows how many screaming kids, the brownie point factor tipped the scales to the latter and I went to bail Liza out. (If only I had a dime for every time...)
The gala was held at a communal area in a gated community, a popular place for kids parties, the likes of which I haven't spoken of before on the advice of my psychiatrist. The first sign I should have turned back came from the security guard when he said, "if you can't find any parking at the park, you'll have to find a spot in the field behind you."
When I approached the area, my original thought was, "there must be two other parties going on at the same time." There was the standard Bahamian party regalia: bouncy castle, balloons (although I don't think the other parties went so far into triple digits as this one did), a playground, and pizza. Add to that: a rock-climbing thingy, a popcorn machine, a sno-cone machine, and a carnival ride and you have half the picture. They also had a DJ blasting music (Kid Popz 7) that clearly made residents living next to the park realize why their property was listed so cheap. There was also a tent housing tables with real linen tablecloths, decked out in yellow, green, and purple, which the parents in my audience will immediately recognize as the colours of The Incredible Hulk. The food consisted of curry mutton, curry chicken, conch fritters, and at least half a dozen other dishes that were gone before I even arrived.
And kids. Oh yes, there were children. There was a flock of them, a gaggle of them, and a pod of them. There was a pride, murder, pack, brood, herd, hive, and horde of them. The park was saturated with children. You'd have to boil the place to get any more of them in.
I crowd-surfed my way over to Liza and it took her a few seconds to realize that hope had arrived. When her eyes began to focus again, she said something like, "hihoneyireallyhavetogobadthanksforcomingillbebackin..." and that's all I caught before she was out of earshot.
So I made my way over to the tent which had turned into a parental haven. Judging from the cold, dead look on the eyes of everyone there, they were either deep in their happy place or planning revenge against their spouses for not being there. I found a friend who was there with his two girls. He had already told them they could either have a birthday party like this one or he'd pay for their wedding but not both.
Near the end, they had about half a dozen people come in doing a mini-Junkanoo (which can not be described; it must be experienced). They came in banging drums and cow bells playing a beat even I could almost sorta dance to. And they were like Bahamian pied pipers the way the kids just fell into line behind them. It took all my will power not to offer them $50 to keep right on walking out of the park.
Anyway I'm sure Syd was there and I'm sure she had fun. Liza eventually did show up again but after, she later confessed, taking an "impromptu" nap. She asked me if Syd ate anything and I told her that the extent of my love for her clearly did not include wandering into natural disasters, war zones, or acts of God, all of which, I think, applied in this case.