Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Arrival Day 2011: Prithee, Peace!

Yesterday was Arrival Day, the fourth anniversary of our arrival in San Francisco. Ron and I try to remember that day each year, but generally can only celebrated with a nice lunch during the workday or a beer that evening.

This year's Arrival Day was much more fun. It was a Friday, first of all, and Ron and I drove to work that morning in our car (yay!) after dropping Benny off at Shakespeare Camp. Benny has been very cool about Shakespeare Camp, although he still contends he was lured into the camp under false pretenses. Two years ago we attended a summer camp expo and Shakespeare Camp had a booth full of toy swords and one of the "teacher artists" taught Benny swordplay. Well, after that it was all "I want to go to Shakespeare Camp." We couldn't afford it last year, but this year I laid out a shocking amount of money for the two-week camp.

Well, then Benny comes home the first day looking a little glum and I ask him how he went and he shook his head. "It's a lot of reading," he said. As the days went on, however, he started to get into his role as King Alonso in "The Tempest," making his crown and his sword and running around the apartment yelling "Prithee, peace!"

But he still feels like he was had -- he confessed to me that he always thought Shakespeare Camp meant you could shake a spear.

Yesterday we saw the result of all his hard work: "The Tempest". Ron and I worked a half day, and it was a good day for me. A special publication was going to press, called — and I swear I'm not making this up — Health Care Heroes. Thankfully, however, I was not the editor of that project, so I could bug out at 1 p.m.

We stopped at home to get Ron's Flip camera and went to the big Methodist church on Geary where the camp was held. We'd never been to any Benny performance except for Little League games, so I sat the whole time with my mouth half open while Benny said lines like:

"O thou mine heir
Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish
Hath made his meal on thee?"

I must admit though, my favorite part was when Benny wore a mask and was a dog spirit — he hopped around the stage on his hands and knees and then crawled out the door.

After that, there was a cast party, where I met the amazing little girl who played Ariel. (She also plays the piano and the violin and does ballet.) Another girl who looked about Benny's age sat on a chair like a throne while her family surrounded her and gave her flowers and wrapped presents. Ron was immediately gripped with remorse because we didn't bring Benny anything, so we took him out for ice cream.

Then we went home and ordered Chinese for dinner and sat around watching the Roomba vacuum the living room and were happy.

It was a great Arrival Day.

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