bay area · Berkeley · humor · kids · motherhood · oakland · parenthood

the party guest

Four weeks after Lila was born, I joined a moms’ group with other new moms who had babies of the same age. There are ten of us in all and, miraculously, they are all people I’d have chosen to be friends with. In fact, the absence of a Designated Misfit, or at least a discernible Least Favorite, made me question at first whether the misfit was actually me. I’ve since been convincingly reassured, however. We just got very lucky.

Our ten babies are celebrating their second birthdays this April and May, and we’ve decided to have a group party. Chief among the party’s highlights: a musical performance by Asheba, a Trinidadian musician with dreadlocks, a thick Caribbean accent, and the adoration of kids throughout the Bay Area. In Oakland, where he is based, this man is the toddler’s answer to Bono.

As it turned out, booking His Royal Asheba for the birthday party was not easy. I began with an email explaining who I was and my reason for writing. To get on his good side, I mentioned that our children often exclaim “Go Itsy!” for no apparent reason. (For those of you who are “Asheba virgins,” it’s Itsy as in The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Exactly why he so urgently needs to go, however, is anyone’s guess.)

In response to my email, I received a charmingly accented, though somewhat perplexed-sounding, voice mail from Asheba. I returned his call, but when he answered, he didn’t remember who I was (“Sorry – I don’t have my head today.”) A second later, we got “disconnected.” So I emailed him instead, and got an apologetic voice mail back asking me to call him again to discuss the birthday party. I did so the next day, but again he didn’t remember who I was, explaining, “Sorry – I don’t have my head today.” Then we got “disconnected”… again. I began to sense a pattern. He called me back a few minutes later, but he still didn’t remember me and had to take my word for it that we had communicated before. I wondered if maybe he was actually Keith Richards wearing a really good disguise.

Once Asheba and I had established who I was and why I was calling, things picked up. I managed to book him for the afternoon of April 25th and am crossing serious fingers that he will be there. From the sound of it, he might just as easily be passed out on purple satin sheets in some trashed hotel room. Guess all we can do is wait… If he doesn’t show, I can always entertain the crowd with my unique rendition of “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder.


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