April 1986: During a fire drill at a meeting of my secret club, called, ingeniously, Paradise Fun Club, I elect not to jump over the side of the treehouse in full adherence to the previously-agreed-upon Fire Drill Procedure, which went something like this: make way calmly to trap door in treehouse; climb down ladder; alight on ground; congratulate self for being a member of a not-only-brilliantly-named secret club, but also one that is in strict compliance with fire safety rules as learned that day in fifth grade. I thereby avoid decades of teasing from the nascent Key Girls and grow up to have a happy and fulfilling life.
October 1990 To inaugurate my treacherous ninth-grade year, I reject my own brilliant idea to wander into Snooty Prep School wearing Princess Leia buns for no reason at all and master the arts of bright blue mascara, side ponytails, and the perfectly untucked J. Crew polo shirt, thereby fitting in seamlessly with my classmates. I avoid pointed stares for the duration of that ill-conceived day as well as many comments along the “Hey! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE PRINCESS LEIA!” lines as well as a well meaning question from the stupidest girl in the whole school: “Um, Chiara? I heard that you were in Star Wars? When you were really little? And that that’s why you’re wearing Princess Leia hair today? Is that true?” I stare at this stupid girl for many long minutes and grow up to have a happy and fulfilling life.
March 1997 I throw myself a 22nd birthday party at a beautiful Craftsman-style building on my college campus. There is, at this party, not only cake and Duck Duck Goose and a piņata, but also the inaugural performance of my band, PolkaHontas, (in which I am one of the lead singers), whose dream it is to successfully play “Blue Monday” by New Order as a polka tune. Our rendition of, “Why Does The Sun Shine” by They Might Be Giants, is such a giant success that the band members, after graduation, choose to take the gig on the road. We are an instant cult success in LA and by the end of the year we have been signed to a small record label. We have officially arrived when not only Weird Al Yankovic but also Flansburgh and Linnell come to one of our sold-out shows at the Whiskey. Rumors swirl as to the nature of my relationship with co-lead-singer Anna and I begin to receive highly inappropriate mail from geeks of all descriptions. I learn to play the bassoon and continue to have a happy, fulfilling, rock-star lifestyle life.
July 2002 I take a beginning knitting class and master the art quickly. I move past hats and scarves and on to cell phone cozies, halter tops, and diaphanous sweaters. I have a huge knitting tote that I lug with me faithfully to my Stitch-n-Bitch every week and I always have at least three projects going at a time, all of which I work upon skillfully and conscientiously. Everyone I know get darling hand-knit things from me for presents and I fill out many of the buy-ten-skeins-get-one-free punchcards at my yarn store. . I begin to work without a pattern my second year of knitting and one day I just suck it up and bring some of my stuff into a little boutique in Ballard and ask if they might be interested in selling some of it? They just might, and in addition to my regular day job I have a little extra something-something coming in from my awesome hobby. One of my patterns is featured in Knitty and I swoon just to think of it. I go on to have a happy, fulfilling, and fiber-riffic life.
October 2004 After a long and discouraging search, I finally find a pair of perfect black knee-high boots. The toes are rounded but not too rounded. The heel is stable and walkable. The calves pull on perfectly and the zip does not catch or rip. I wear these boots with kicky knee-length skirts and my hair acquires mysterious volume and shine. I lose fifteen pounds without even trying because the boots encourage me to walk everywhere. The coffee-puller downstairs at work gives me an extra shot of chocolate because she cannot keep her eyes off my legs. People on the bus crane their heads in pursuit of my well-turned ankles. Manolo sends me a personal Valentine, thanking me for purchasing the boots and wearing them in public as a super fantastic example to everyone everywhere of true Boot Nirvana. Peter Sarsgaard happens to be at my grocery store one Saturday when I and the boots are shopping there and he rushes to help me pick out a Ruby Red grapefruit and I smile graciously and thank him and walk off to the checkout stand and he stands there hitting his head with his hand going “Stupid! Stupid! Why didn’t I ask her out?” They invite me to the White House and I step off the plane in the boots and Bush falls to the floor right then and there and he begs me for forgiveness and I cast a disdainful look over my toes at him and he writhes and weeps and screams aloud and I turn up my nose and turn to climb back up the stairs to the plane, having seen all I need to see, and then he resigns right there and there is a ticker tape parade and the budget is balanced and the torture and killing stops and Social Security functions as the safety net it was designed to be and Barack Obama would be delighted to be the next President, if I will promise to come and have tea with him occasionally, wearing the boots, and the sun shines and the clouds roll away and we are all assembled together, holding hands with the people we love most, singing the song of happiness and joy and delight for the world, and I go on to have a happy and fulfilling life, even if I do wear a size ten.