As a father, I get particularly nervous around these 'milestone' birthdays: Too many kids overdo the natal day festivities to the point where they make themselves seriously ill. Occasionally, some die. Having a lot of friends is a good thing. Having a lot of friends buying you shots is a bit more problematic.
Anyway, we are just about safely past the celebrations, so we can look back and be amused by how things went....
Long Suffering Spouse was grading papers Monday evening, as usual, when her cell phone went off. Younger Daughter was calling.
Somehow Younger Daughter had Tuesday off from school. The whole campus did (I looked it up). It wasn't closed for Younger Daughter's 21st birthday; I can't remember the actual occasion. But it certainly was convenient for Younger Daughter's purposes.
Younger Daughter's purposes involved the legal purchase (for once!) of stimulating beverages. She was in the Jewel closest to the school, pacing through the Liquor Department, and she needed a mother's advice.
"What's Bombay Sapphire?" Younger Daughter asked.
My wife knows a great deal about a great many things, but she has never made a particular study of potent potables. So my wife repeated the question for my benefit.
"Gin," I said.
Long Suffering Spouse had put her phone on speaker, but she still had to repeat the answer for Younger Daughter's benefit.
"Gin?" Younger Daughter asked. "What's that?"
"I don't much care for it," I said.
"Well, it's a really pretty bottle," Younger Daughter said, "and blue sapphire is my birthstone. I think I'll get it."
"Good luck," I said -- and left it to my wife to make all the admonishments about being careful and not getting sick and so forth. The call was promptly terminated.
But, apparently, Younger Daughter wasn't done. Olaf was with her, of course. Olaf is not just her boyfriend, he is her loyal chauffeur (it may not have been too far to walk to the Jewel but the burdens would have been too heavy to make the return trip on foot). Moreover, Olaf -- we found out later -- rather likes gin. Or at least he did. One of Younger Daughter's best friends from grammar school was also along for the expedition to the grocery store. They were apparently making no secret of the purpose of their expedition and the reason therefor.
In the movie version of this story, there will be an increasingly large number of people, young and old, attaching themselves to Younger Daughter and her friends as they wander up and down the aisles making their selections. Some would offer advice. By the time Younger Daughter gets to the checkout lane, the entire store will be in tow, cheering her on in Capra-esque fashion and calling out birthday wishes as Younger Daughter makes her exit. My mental reconstruction of the scene may be a bit much -- but Younger Daughter did tell me later that "the whole store was cheering" for her as she completed the transaction.
Younger Daughter and her friends went back to the dorm for "pre-game" -- putting away a significant amount of the newly-purchased booze there so as to hold down the later bar tab. Because, after a sufficient time, the birthday party, increased now by various hangers-on from the dorm, adjourned to the fleshpots of Madison Street.
Middle Son looked in on the happy group at some point later on. He noted they were too happy to get home on their own, so he got Olaf, Younger Daughter and her other friend safely back to the dorm. "And Olaf didn't throw up in my car," Middle Son said appreciatively. "I made him keep his head in a bag, though, just in case."
Ah, the glamor and elegance of turning 21....