As I've stated before, my girlfriends are some of the absolute funniest people on the planet, which works out well for me, seeing as how humor is a hugely important part of my psyche and a personality trait I am incredibly drawn to. Audrey Hepburn once said, "I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."
I love that she said that. It is so beautiful and charming. It made me look at her as multi-faceted and even more delightfully fascinating. You know, because a resume of projects like "My Fair Lady" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with the distinguished status of world-renowned icon in art and fashion isn't impressive enough.
Anyhow.... I started this funny little habit a few years ago on a Girls' trip. We always laugh really hard at the random stories and comments that fly out of peoples' mouths during our times together.....so, I started writing them down. Then I lost the lists. So, I started using the notepad feature on my phone. Much better.
The girls love this idea. In fact, when things get rolling, one of them will invariably yell, "Start your list, Bec!", and away we go. No one else sees our lists. I don't read them to anyone outside of our crew - it wouldn't be nearly as funny to someone who wasn't there (most of the time. Some of the lines are hysterical, even without context). We'll run through an old list or two every once in a while, when we're all together, and through the majority of it, laugh until our tears run or we have to pause for a bathroom break (most of us have birthed multiple children, after all). There is a small percentage of quotes which are confusing, since none of us can remember who said them or what they mean. They must have been funny at the time....
As I was going through notes looking for inspiration (which has had me laughing out loud for the better part of 20 minutes), I came across the list from our Vegas trip. This one is a little different because the guys were along for the ride.
My beautiful and fabulous friend, Shanie, decided that she wanted to surprise her husband, the also fabulous Sean, with a fun-filled weekend in Las Vegas for his fortieth birthday. She knew she wouldn't be able to pull the actual location off without warning him (unlike less detailed male members of our group, Sean packs himself for trips, and may actually be pickier than I am about his style and wardrobe choices for a given occasion and/or location). So, the surprise portion of the program was this: Sean knew they were going to Vegas for his birthday. That's it. He didn't know where they were staying, what the itinerary was or (drum roll, please) that three other couples would be there with them. Ta-da!
We started planning this in late June. Our departure date was November 30th. I have no idea how we pulled it off. Seriously. As you can probably guess, we as a whole are not the most subtle group of people. And we are around each other a lot. As are our children. So, we had to sneak and planned organize in stages, avoiding the ears of not only Sean, but all our kids as well (because we all know how well children keep surprises under wraps). We avoided telling mutual friends in case someone slipped. We let church know we were unavailable to serve that weekend but didn't dare explain why. Steph was too terrified to let her child's teacher know where she was going when she reported grandma would be picking him up, since Sean teaches at that school. We bought show tickets on alternating credit cards so he wouldn't see charges, then had math marathons to try and figure out who owed money to whom. We scheduled flights and airports around his departure and arrival so there was no chance of running into each other during transit. It was madness. Fun, though.
As the date drew near, we became more frenzied in our excitement and more paranoid in our preparations. I doubt this much detail, coordination and precision goes into many military operations. Shanie had a giant laminated poster made with all of our pictures on it as the Happy Birthday banner. I had the honor of transporting that precious cargo in a cardboard tube on the plane. The responsibility nearly did me in. I am a nervous flier as it is. The added pressure about pushed me over the edge. None of us wanted to screw up any part of the plan - mostly because we love Sean and were excited to celebrate him in such a cool way, but also because, truth be told, we are all a little afraid of Shanie.
The close calls and hilarity that ensued in just getting all of us to Vegas and then to our condo could easily be turned into a Sandra Bullock movie (think comedy, not 28 Days). We managed to get checked in, unloaded, stocked and decorated. We prepped ourselves and the very amused front desk staff with about ten different scenarios on how and where to surprise him, finally settling on the back part of the lobby. When they finally walked through the doorway, our relief at having reached the end of the clandestine portion of our journey was so great that our shouts of "Surprise!" and "Happy Birthday!" we're incredibly loud and somewhat manic. We basically gave Sean a massive episode of heart arrhythmias. He had to sit down with his head in his hands for at least 15 minutes once we got to the suite.
The next three days were, in a word, fantastic. We had so much fun, laughed so hard, ran around like we were 15 years younger, ate so much, slept so little....you get the point. It was a truly unforgettable trip. Even so, just to be sure and have back-up memory jogs, the list of quotes joined the history text of our lives and has me giggling as I try to picture who said which line when. I'm in the mood to share, so here are a few gems:
· Is that an eight?!? (our sushi bill was a bit shocking)
· And then you end up dead in a fountain wearing a teddy (reasoning not to ever party as a swinger)
· I don't do Hobbits (Denny's had a themed menu)
· I will just dance in the lobby to their music (reaction to the cover charge at Tao. I think Pit Bull or someone along those lines was there)
· I would just like to point out that I am still awake
· Singing the wrong notes is not harmony
· That's gonna leave a mark (each of us managed to run into something at some point)
· I'm pretty sure she was the one hiding chips in her pants (I have no idea. Sounds intriguing, though, doesn't it?)
Ah, memories.....Isn’t it amazing how snippets of a story can bring the whole thing rushing back? How many anecdotes actually become funnier or sweeter or even sadder with the passing of time? How being reminded of a past moment in time can flip us right back into the emotion of that moment, no matter how far away from it we are? I love my lists, and how they bless me with a way to return to laughter and outrageousness, even in times when my faulty memory has let go of those images. I love to laugh….and a great story deserves another round of that, often more than once.
Solidarity, sisters. May the list of your life's quotes fill you with laughter more often than not.