Thursday, January 7, 2010

TENtalizing Tidbits: Anastasia Hopcus

Let's welcome Anastasia Hopcus, author of the soon to be released Shadow Hills as she reminisces on birthdays past with a special guest post. What, you didn't know it's Anastasia's birthday today? Now you do! Happy birthday Anastasia!

Anastasia: So I was thinking about birthdays---strange, I know---and I couldn’t help noticing that the ones that really stuck out in my memory weren’t the ones that went smoothly and perfectly. The ones I really remembered were the ones where everything went wrong, but I was with my friends and we had fun anyway. Looking back on it, I think my favorite birthday was the one that got screwed up the most. It was my 17th birthday, and my mother was letting me go on my first overnight trip with just my friend Katy. (It seemed to make her feel better that I was supposed to meet up with my Uncle Doug, but from what I’d heard about Doug’s youth, he was more likely to be a bad influence than a good one.) Katy and I already had our Halloween costumes, so we decided to dress up and drive six hours to go to the Renaissance Festival. (Can you say massive geeks?)

We set out with two horrible senses of direction and our friends' tent that we had lost the instructions for. The ride started off great--the music was loud, there was a lot of giggling and we were on our own. And, after a short while, completely lost. Thankfully, I’d remembered the car charger for my phone and we were able to call my mom for directional advice. Which, we realized an hour later, had gotten us even more lost. This is when we decided to stop and ask for directions at a gas station outside of a little Texas town... while wearing our Halloween Japanimation costumes. I had a toy machine gun strapped over my shirt---a shirt that I’d spray-painted with faux-chrome from Pep Boys so it looked like metal---and I was wearing one very squeaky pair of pleather pants. Katy was wearing an actual metal bra (I didn't even want to ask where she got that) under a fishnet top, and the large chains she’d worn as necklaces were clanging against her Mad-Maxian undergarment. So, in we walk, clanking and squeaking and generally looking like two complete weirdos. (I’d bet that Stop and Shop cashier still remembers those two insane city girls trying to find the Renaissance Festival.) Luckily, despite our appearances, they gave us directions.

A few hours later we arrived and set out to look for my uncle, who thought a cell phone would ruin the authenticity of his outfit. Thanks to this incommunicado stance, we spent the rest of our day walking around trying to find him instead of watching cheesy juggling shows and buying chainmail. We never did manage to locate my kilt-wearing, bag-pipe-playing, Harley-riding uncle---who for this event was going by the name King Doug. Surprisingly, this isn’t an uncommon name at Renfest. We ended up meeting several nice King Dougs, but I was fairly certain I was in no way related to any of them. By the time we gave up the search, it was time to go back to the car and set up camp---with a borrowed tent that neither one of us knew how to assemble. Even better, we now had to assemble it in a torrential downpour that came upon us so unexpectedly that one moment I was a dry Japanimation character, and the next I was a bedraggled girl covered in running rivers of silver paint. The girls in the car next to mine took mercy on us and---after I donned a shirt that wasn’t dripping spray-on metallic auto paint---offered to let us share their tent. We did some turbo-bonding with our new friends and found out that they went to high school with three of our other friends. In the end, after everything had gone wrong, we had a lot of fun.

Anyone up for a doomed road trip to a fake medieval village?

Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 22 October 2009.


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