I'm 21. At long last, a full-fledged adult!
(And, as you can see from the time, R had mercy on me and did not make me go to the morning swim practice and swim those 21 100s, as she threatened last week...)
Anyhow, we celebrated yesterday rather than today, seeing as it's not only Sunday, but that I have two exams tomorrow. We all packed into the Beetle and went to Jacksonville, where we sat around the dining room table and had a far-reaching conversation - from the benefits of yoga to table etiquette and the proper way to use cutlery - until Dad got home and we went to Olive Garden (always a winner). I finally got those stuffed shells with shrimp that I'd been seeing on the commercials, and they were awesome. I opened my presents in between the salad and the entrees - an 80-gig external hard drive, hundred-dollar gift certificates to Sports Authority and Target (plus a hundred-dollar bill in my card!) and an artsy pair of black and silver Mexican earrings.
When the waiter (who looked so much like R's ex, D - we both noticed it) came over, he asked if it was my birthday. Thinking, 'Hmm, maybe I get a free dessert,' I told him yes. "What's your name?" he asked then. "Jess," I answered automatically, then caught on - too late. "No, don't sing!"
"Oh, we're going to," he assured me, then grinned and hurried off.
Anyhow, after the entrees, the dessert, and, yes, the singing, we headed back to the house and had another far-reaching conversation, this one mainly about religions and the differences between them, from the Mormons to the Amish. I know a LOT about the Amish - I've read books on them and even taken a field trip to Pennsylvania Amish country - but in typical R fashion, R assumed that because I'm an atheist I couldn't possibly know anything about anyone else's religion. She got 'that tone' - "No, Jess, they're originally Dutch! Because I saw this movie about Amish people and I swear they were speaking Dutch!" "R, I promise you they're not, they're German! Amish people are raised bilingual with English and German - tons of their prayers and hymns and all are in German - why would they do that if they're Dutch?" (Just looked it up to confirm, and I was right - LOL.) Strange that F didn't know that, though, seeing as she IS German...
Anyway, then we went rock climbing, which turned out to be a lot of fun. I was the only one who'd ever done it before - I did it for my sixteenth birthday, too, now that I think about it. Anyway, R took to it right away, as I figured she would. F was kind of scared in the beginning - heights aren't her favorite thing and she kept going halfway up, looking down, getting scared, and coming back down as slowly as she possibly could (not easy with the auto-belay). She did make it to the top a couple times by the end, though. But the real surprise was H - she had never climbed before, but she was awesome! Her Puma shoes were a bit better suited for climbing than our sneakers, and not only that, she's built right for it - long-limbed, but still very compact, not muscular and 'bulky' like R or me - and she took to it right away. There was this one wall with a couple of 'corners' in the middle, where the wall bent outward so you had to climb a bit angled outward (upside down), and R and I kept getting to the same point, at the last corner, then having to give up. ("I need to lose like 50 pounds if I want to do this," R muttered.) But I looked across the gym a little later and H was past that point and still climbing! She didn't make it to the top, but she got further than either of us did, barely breaking a sweat. Wow.
Anyway, so that was a lot of fun, and then we piled back into the car and headed back to G-ville. H is thinking about buying an iPod, so she sat up front (F and R, despite being freakishly tall, appeared to enjoy cramming themselves into the back) and played DJ with mine, which is hooked into the radio. She played lots of those "sixth-grade songs" from when we were all first discovering the radio ("Sweet Dreams", "Be My Lover", "Another Night," etc.) with some other oldies and dance stuff mixed in. We all sang along LOUD (R and I both knew every single word to 'Pretty Fly for a White Guy' - the other two just stared at us!), and F said at one point, "Hmm - I think the party's already starting!"
So we got back, got dressed to go out, and then they called me downstairs and sang Happy Birthday to me and presented my present - a bottle of Creme de Menthe and a bottle of Amarula. (Oh, yeah, and a stuffed animal with some candy.) :)
Anyway, so much drinking of shots and taking of silly pictures ensued, and then we cranked up R's oldies on her computer (I was lying on her bed saying something like, "It feels weird - I'm, like, suddenly all grown up!" when she yelled "This is for you, Jess!" and cranked up 'Dangerous'... LOL) and danced around the house and ran around the complex trying to figure out who all was coming out to Market Street with us. Before we left, F (and B, a Dutch guy) made me a paper crown "21 - Kiss Me!" which I wore for a couple of pictures but refused to wear out. And I was wearing a Y-back top, so R wrote all over both my shoulders - all of which was completely unintelligible except for the big number 21s, but nobody cared - the idea was there.
Anyway, so we got to Market Street and the guy at the door let me in with no problem - he checked my ID pretty closely, but I said "An hour and a half, come on!" and he let me in - turned out his own birthday was within the next couple of days as well. It turned out to be karaoke night, so R and I sang 'Time of Your Life' and H and B sang 'Summer Lovin', among others. Nobody could really hear how anyone sounded, nor was that the point - it was just to provide some music for the crowd to sing along to. But it was fun. The clock flipped to 0.00 at some point and I got a lot of hugs and congratulations and drink offers, and then R and I went over to the other side of the club where there was a live band. We ran into C, the other Masters swim coach (and the guy who was teaching the Lifeguarding Class that Never Was), with his girlfriend, and then H and the rest of the group came over and joined us and we all stood around talking about what we were going to eat. Someone said Denny's and someone said pizza, and we all just sort of stood there repeating those same two ideas - neither of which came out; we just came back to the complex and ate tostis (basically toasted ham and cheese sandwiches) and my grits. F had gotten distracted by another party and never showed up at Market Street, so we were all making jokes about what was probably happening that kept her away (she's got a boyfriend back in Germany, but there's a really sweet guy in this complex that she's got something going on with too). R went to bed because she had to get up and coach (poor thing) and H and B and I stayed up a while longer before B went home and H and I went to bed. I know I went upstairs, because I remember getting undressed and talking to H, and when I got up this morning my iPod speaker set was up here and plugged in - meaning I brought it up with me last night - yet I woke up at quarter past six and I was downstairs, on the couch. Very odd - I guess I sleepwalked - wouldn't be the first time.
Anyway, but I feel absolutely fine today - I'm one of those lucky few people who doesn't really get hangovers - but F and H are still sleeping and R is still at practice. Once everyone's here I'm going to see if I can't maybe organize a Sports Authority and Target shopping spree later today with those gift cards. Today is my REAL birthday, after all - let's celebrate!