Sunday, July 22, 2007
The One Where Twinks Stands for Harry Potter... Again
It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing; the end of the road for the wildly popular Harry Potter franchise.
Book Seven was being released at 12:01 am.
Twinks wanted to be there - just *had to* be there, Mom.
After all, it *was* the end of an era, and all that.
So, we went. Just Twinks and I. And several thousand of our newest friends.
We were still reeling from attending Our Special Premiere of the latest HP movie on the 11th. Just as we do for every Harry Potter movie premiere, we rented the private VIP viewing room of our local movie theatre so that we could enjoy the movie in privacy, giving the movie the rapt attention required by Twinks of all who attend with her.
Buoyed by the excitement of seeing Book Five come to life on the big screen (although we were all disappointed by how much of the book had to be discarded) Twinks began plotting to make it to one the big Midnight Madness parties that were planned for the release of the last book - Book Seven.
I was concerned; Twinks does not have a positive history of withstanding the... well... the standing that this kind of event requires. She was determined to not have a repeat of last time. So was I.
Reluctantly, I agreed to take her, but I warned her - if she needed to sit down, if she started to hurt too much, if we had to stand too long, she had to promise me that she would sit down.
Sure, Mom. OK! Let's GO!
Did she sit down?
She wouldn't sit down.
Not in a chair, on a bench, or on the floor. Everyone else was standing, so Twinks stood too. For nearly two hours straight.
When it was over, she was shaking from the simple effort of walking out to the parking lot.
By timing our arrival, we got a spot that by Midnight was approximately in the center of the line, but would hopefully minimize the total amount of time that Twinks might have to stand and/or wait. Store personnel passed out brightly colored wrist bands, each color corresponding to a Hogwarts "house". If you had a wristband at Midnight, you were guaranteed a book; without one, you had to hope and pray that there were enough.
During the long minutes leading up to Midnight-Oh-One, clerks circulated up and down the ever-growing line, passing out Harry Potter tattoos, bookmarks, and posters. The crowd was very well-behaved; readers of all ages waited (relatively) patiently for that magical moment when the books would appear.
We saw a few friends, some familiar faces in the crowd, but where we were (sandwiched between a three-generation family each eager for their own copy, and a high-school teacher who bemoaned the end of "the only series of books that my students will willingly read".) everyone was polite and friendly, but focused on one thing: The Book.
As time passed, Twinks became increasingly pale; her face pinched with pain. She shifted uncomfortably, but refused to sit on the floor as I suggested.
She didn't want to be different.
She wanted to be like all the other teenagers she saw. And none of them, not one, was sitting on the floor.
Despite repeated begging and pleading on my part, she kept grimly waving me off, and insisting that she was "fine".
The countdown started at 12:00:50 am. Ten seconds later, the crowd pressed forward as one, and we all waited breathlessly to see The Lucky First One walk back down the line, book held triumphantly aloft to applause. Others walked back much more slowly, some already engrossed in the first pages, reading and walking towards the parking lot. A few clutched multiple copies, and one lone teenager stood anxiously at the registers, carefully counting out his money, praying aloud that he had enough to buy the book. (For the record, he did - with a few pennies left over. Also for the record - if he hadn't had enough, I was ready to make up the difference. Anyone who wants a book as much as he obviously did, should have one.)
We watched all these little mini-dramas play out while inching ever closer to the registers where the stacks of books dwindled, and were replenished by harried-looking clerks, all dressed in magical garb.
The register area had been draped in yards and yards of black fabric, with the lights dimmed, and Potter-appropriate decorations hung from ceilings. The counters were covered with black and silver magic-themed fabrics, and the employees working the registers were all dressed in black witches hats and flowing black capes. There were black frosted cupcakes for those who were hungry from waiting, and some additional miscellaneous Potter merchandise to browse through. Twinks finally became visibly excited, standing on her tiptoes and bouncing impatiently.
A bit less than $20 later, we had one book, two cupcakes, a poster, a wristband, a tattoo, and a bookmark.
And one exhausted girl, who was now in tremendous pain. But she had stood for Harry Potter. She made it this time.
And today, she has paid the price. All day.
Twinks slept - literally - all day today. She finally woke late in the day, ate a little, and staggered into the living room, where she cocooned herself on the couch with her book. Her pain level is high, just as high as her sense of self-purpose and determination was last night.
Friday afternoon, hours before we left to buy The Last Book, I called and scheduled a pain management session for next week in advance of our late-night adventure. My hope was that I could cancel it on Monday morning.
The reality was that we needed that appointment now, today.
In the end, I'm glad that we went, although I wish that Twinks would have just. sat. down.
This may be the last time we will do something like this together - stand on line for a book. I didn't want Twinks to miss this - and selfishly, I wanted to share it with her. But we all realize now that the price she pays is just too high.
Sometimes, like tonight, Normal seems futher away than ever.
Published by Thimbelle - Sunday, July 22, 2007