Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter Week: Remembering HBP

I suppose I was twenty-three. I know I was waitressing; midnight every night, or later, at a restaurant whose most expensive dish was titled "Mako Shark Bites" and ran for $24.95. I ate store-brand granola bars hidden behind the side-work station. I was fetchingly thin, owing to circumstances rather than deliberation, and my feet hurt.

I was living with my parents, just for the summer, and was running a children's drama camp when I wasn't waitressing. I spent a week as a live-in babysitter for three unruly children while their parents were on vacation, and found that they had a habit of waking up in the middle of the night to make kitchen-destroying ice cream sundaes while the babysitter was asleep. They weren't my children, so I wasn't angry. We all had sundaes and went back to bed.

Because of the three jobs, and the money I had put aside from temping, I preordered Half-Blood Prince. Months in advance, knowing if I waited I could easily justify not doing it. But I had no friends in my hometown to loan me a copy -- truth be told I had no friends left in my hometown whatsoever, due to college and jobs and travel, and it was a welcome diversion to putter-Potter around on internet chat rooms.

And I wanted to know what happened next in the story.

I waitressed until midnight that night, and so forewent the release party at our only chain bookstore, twenty-five miles away. My copy was arriving the next morning at 10:30 a.m., courtesy of the United States Postal Service and Amazon-dot-com.

I went to bed in the same blue-flowered pajamas that I wear now; economy, as always, being the sole imperative.

What I remember most was the sense of giddy anticipation. It was like Christmas -- only better than Christmas, because I knew that the Santa Claus driving down the highway towards me was bringing me exactly what I wanted.

I fell asleep smiling.

No comments: