A Valentine’s Day Tale


Five year old me conquering slide. (Avoiding barrels in case of portals to alternate noiresque dimensions.)

I’ve always had a pretty good memory. This can make for a useful party trick, because I get to say things like “On February 14th, 1991, I dreamt that I was trapped in a sepia-toned noir film. With pie.” Of course it would be a way MORE awesome party trick if I could remember completely arbitrary dates and events; I mean, February 14th is Valentines Day, so it’s pretty easy to associate a a particular V-day with something and go from there,  but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like, ” On March 11th, 1988…” and just like, describe the events of the day? “10:30am: pushed over my sister…10:45: ate some crayons…” Now that would be impressive. Boring, but impressive. But yeah, I can’t do that. So instead here’s the story of the noir-pie:

The morning of the aforementioned Valentines day, I dreamt I was playing on the playground of my elementary school, when this super-cool girl with crimped hair (I think she was a third-grader), asked me to play with her. Naturally, I was stoked (hello? CRIMPED HAIR. LIKE CYNDI LAUPER,YOU GUYS), but when I ran after her, I got lost behind one the big cement barrels. Now, I was a fairly intelligent child, like, I typically knew how to navigate my way around some barrels, but remember: dream, so Instead of just running through the barrels and winding up near the slides like normal, I instead ended up in a strange, noiresque land (or more like “Roger Rabbit-esque,” because that’s as “noir” as five year old me knew…but there was, you know, like, rain, and lamp-posts and stuff). Turns out a bunch of other kids got lost in the barrels, and ended up there too (though not the cool big kid with the crimpy hair). We all wandered around noir land (which, as I alluded to earlier, was sepia-toned BTW, so this was like, the opposite of “The Wizard of Oz”), and eventually ended up in this tiny little diner (which probably even said “Diner” on the window, but I don’t think I could read well enough to dream words at that point). The woman who owned the diner (who looked JUST like my then-hero, Jodie on “Today’s Special”)  offered us pie. I REALLY wanted pie, but I was like, “WAIT, does this pie have consequences? Like, can we never leave if we eat it?” (A VALID INQUIRY.)

The diner-woman told us that pie or no, there was sadly, no way out of noir land. To console us, she sang this song about believing in ourselves, which five year old dream-me recognized as both comforting and hella-cheesy. (I remembered that song for YEARS, only now every time I try to it turns into that Diana Ross song from “The Land Before Time.” ALL OF THE TEARS FOR LITTLEFOOT’S MOM, YOU GUYS.)

Anyway, I woke up I woke up mid-song, glad to no longer be trapped in sepia-toned noir land, but bummed about no pie, until I found the huge box of chocolates (real-life non-sepia chocolates!) waiting for me at the breakfast table along with, for some reason, a windup stuffed clown (note: do not Google image search “windup stuffed clown, early 90s,” the results are terrifying). After eating as many chocolates as I could (before my mom put the box on top of the refrigerator), and a rousing game of “toss the clown” with my sister, I marched happily off to school to distribute my Rescue Ranger valentines.
On that note, may your day be filled with consequence-free pie (and minimal clowns), and may you avoid both bleak, inescapable alternate dimensions AND getting your chocolate put on top of the refrigerator.


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