Saturday, February 26, 2011

Green Queen Gets Pierced

When I was 16 years old, I did an exchange program that I didn’t realize would end up changing my life. It’s funny how insignificant things can become so huge like that.

That summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, a girl from Northern Ireland came and stayed with my family and I for a month and, along with a bunch of other American and Irish students, we discussed some of the political and religious issues within the country.

And also, goofed off a lot and spent a summer doing insanely awesome things. Like theme parks, ball games, trips into Chicago, and countless other activities on top of the usual summer schedule.

The girl who was placed with me is still an exceptionally close friend of mine, Aisling. She was extremely quiet and shy at first, being careful and silent around me and my family, even when asked direct questions.

To be fair, she was also jet lagged. However, once I got her to come out of her shell (in case this hasn’t translated so far, I am NOT shy. I think I talked at her for 4 days before she could even get a word in so, that’s partly my fault), she REALLY came out. Man, understatement of the year.

We went shopping one day. And holy cow, KIND OF liked green is the understatement of life.

My green queen went from shy, sensibly dressed, brown haired babe to a chatterbox with new, mostly green, punked out clothing, and purple hair. I may or may not have had purple hair too…

We looked awesome, don’t even worry about it.
Even when the fuchsia flash went from purple to peach, we still were rocking out.

Anyway, once she was at ease with me, it was instant friendship. More like, instant soul mate. We keep in touch, and are even married on facebook (which we all know means a LOT). Since that first summer, we’ve spent 4 more summer adventures together. Pretty good, considering the oceans apart and the costs of tickets on student budgets. Aisling and I have hundreds of zany stories together but, this post is about the time we both went to get our ears pierced with my mom.

As I mentioned, we were feeling rather punky that summer and we wanted to get our ears double pierced to keep the personality flowing. We planned to go to Claire’s to get it taken care of and were about to go ourselves when we realized the flaw in our plan. I was 16 at the time, Aisling 15. We had to have a parent sign their approval for any piercings. And one of our parents was in Ireland. Cue begging and plans for lying.

The plan was set. My mom called Aisling’s mom to make sure that she was okay with Aisling getting piercings. Once that was done, we got ready to go to Claire’s. Aisling could do a really great American accent so, she was going to pretend to be my sister. Which, for those of you who don’t think there is such a thing as an American accent, you’re ridiculous. Although, contrary to a lot of the Irish kid’s  American accents I’ve heard, we aren’t ALL nasally, dumb, or harsh in tone.

As fantastic it always is to have that portrayal.

As we rode to the Claire’s, Aisling was carefully rehearsing her flattering accent as my mom and I just kept repeating “just don’t talk too much”.

Once we were there, everything was going pretty great. They didn’t ask to see our student id’s or licenses or whatever so, Aisling was just accepted to be my mom’s kid. My mom signed our waivers as we picked out earrings and Aisling was even convincingly chatting with the piercers with success, (or at least no questioning looks). However, when I got my ears done, Aisling seemed to go a bit paler than normal.

Which is hard since, being from Ireland, she tended to be so pale she reflected light.

She got slightly shakey, turned even slightly green at the gills. She was sitting down at her chair when I took her hand encouragingly and she gave me a weak smile in return. We both hadn’t had piercings done since we were in our single digits. Although they were pointless, nerves are nerves.

And being as obviously nervous as she was, her piercer couldn’t not ask if she was “feeling okay, hun?”

I was laughing so hard, I had to leave the store. Aisling emerged shortly there after with freshly pierced ears and my mother, who was also in hysterics. To this day, the panicked and nasally “I’m finnnne!” is still used to taunt my exceptionally un-stealthy Irish pal.  

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