8.25.2008

You're out of touch, I'm out of time

I saw The House Bunny starring Anna Farris this weekend. Phil and I had talked about going to see it. He likes Anna Farris quite a bit, and I like her well-enough especially in Gregg Araki's Smiley Face. [This scene rules.] I had other movies on my 'To See' list that ranked much higher, and probably would have opted for an Unbox rental or Netflix of The House Bunny. However, Friday morning I became the guardian of my 13 year-old niece, and since I am the reed that bends in the wind when my niece is around, we saw the movie.

Some of you know that she was in town for the week. Her 81 year-old great-grandmother lives in West Seattle, so Lauren and her aunt and uncle from Fort Worth came to spend a week with the octagenarian. I had planned to keep her occupied on Thursday.

So I picked Lauren up from the airport on Saturday. She was an unaccompanied minor. USAirways managed to keep me detained at the kiosk check-in for over an hour. I didn't have a confirmation number or pass because I was picking up a minor, so the ticket agents kepts shooing me away. My niece called me agitated--was I ever going to come to the gate? After the two ticketing agents checked in three flights, they asked me if they could help me. Yes, I informed them, my niece is waiting at the gate for me to come get her.

"Really," asked one of the ticketing agents, "Why didn't you just tell us that you were picking up an unaccompanied minor?" I muttered under my breath that I had, and that this "service" cost my brother and sister-in-law two hundred dollars.

After standing another half hour or so in security, I made my way to the gate where my niece was waiting. She was wearing the same outfit that she wore to my aunt's funeral. It was very formal and, I later learned, very uncomfortable. She had her iPod and issues of MinX, Seventeen and Cosmo Girl.

We descended to the baggage claim as the piece of luggage that read, "Final piece for USAirways" made it way onto the carousel. Of the luggage still in rotation, none belonged to my niece. This put her nearly over the edge. "It'll be fine," I told her. "It probably just got on the next flight. We'll go to Target and get you some sweats, pjs, and a toothbrush." And that's what we did. I left her with her great-grandmother, and returned home for a few days of work.
I met Lauren, her great-grandmother, her aunt, and her uncle for lunch on Wednesday everyone's favorite, Blue C Sushi.
Thursday, I came over around noon and Lauren and I bussed into the city. This was my day to show her the city. We got sandwiches at Salumi and took them to the UPS/Waterfall park. Then we went to the library, and then we made our way to the Seattle Art Museum. Her fingers were rarely away from her phone, furiously texting a battery of friends back east. I showed her her first Warhol, Rothko, Pollack, Manet, Monet, Degas and others. Between pieces, she texted.
Somehow, I doubt the texts looks like this, "omg! pollack sux da big one!!!1! lol!" or "rofl warhol wtf?" or "manet ftw!!1111!!!!"

Then it was up to Seattle Center where she had been before, so I didn't have to waste precious money on a trip to the top of the needle. For dinner, we went to one of my favorite places, 611 Supreme. Lauren only had soup. The topper for the evening was the world-premiere of Shrek: The Musical at the 5th Avenue theater. The show is Broadway bound and I was happy that my niece and I could see it together.

Needless to say, Thursday really wiped me out. Her great-grandmother had mentioned taking us to Tillicum Village on Friday, but I told Lauren to get me out of it. So when the phone started ringing on Friday morning, I ignored it, rolled over, and went back to sleep.
I could not, however, ignore the knocking at my door Friday morning.

Lauren's aunt was standing at the door with Lauren. "Guess what! You just gave birth to a 13 year-old girl," she said as she pulled Lauren's suitcase onto the porch. I was still out of it and didn't really understand what was going on. It turns out that Lauren's great-grandmother had a bout with dementia and accused all of them of stealing from her. There was name-calling, and overall it sounded like a pretty crummy time.

I removed The Big Penis Book from the coffee table and tidied up as best I could in a short amount of time. So I got to spend a couple extra days with niece. My niece who likes Guns'n'Roses and Marilyn Manson and Celine Dion and Shania Twain. We talked about video games and I let her play some of my World of Warcraft characters. She's the first member of my family to meet Phil. "Phil's really great," she told me on our car ride to the airport on Sunday.

"Yeah, he is, isn't he," I replied. So maybe this is that summer for her--you know the one like in those coming-of-age stories--the kind that change your life. Maybe its that kind of summer for me.

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