I will admit that I have lived a privileged life. I went to a school where there were no locks on the lockers and the worst crime ever committed against me was in the first grade when someone put my penny loafers in the toilet during gym class. Now, as odd and disturbing as this was, you know sometimes when you are a kid and having a bad day, putting someone’s coin-holding shoes in the toilet may seem like your only option.
When I was little, I also feared being abducted in the middle of the night until I saw the movie “Ransom” and realized I had nothing in common with the billionaire child who was kidnapped for a billion reasons. I suppose it is really luck that I have never been seriously vandalized, considering that I drive a Jeep Wrangler which, during the summer, has no roof or windows. My only real reason for locking it is that the little button on my key chain makes a cool sound. So, I guess you could say I am a wishful thinker who trusts my fellow man until about a week ago when a travesty occurred on the UR campus.
It was 10:30 p.m. on my 21st birthday – what should have been one of the best days of my life. I mean, your 21st birthday is right up there with marriage and childbirth. After a world-class birthday party – it turns out Rochester does have a night life – I was ready to encapsulate the epic that was my birthday with the miracle combination of flour, water, eggs and icing that is a birthday cake.
My parents had ordered the cake for me from the Meliora restaurant and it arrived on Friday before my birthday. After picking it up, I walked back to the building where a crime would occur in less then 48 hours. Perhaps it was an unconscious premonition of some sort, but I peeked at the cake before I put it in the common room fridge of the second floor of Wilder Tower. The words “Happy 21st Dith” will be forever burned into my brain.
I had decided that I would not bring the cake to my birthday that night because I felt that the cake was too beautiful to be eaten by the drunken buffoons who are my friends. I also felt like there might be some sort of “Wouldn’t it be funny if the birthday girl put her face in the cake?”
I will say I was a bit neglectful of the cake on Saturday and that I did forget to check on it because usually cakes are not one of those things you need to watch – cookies are fast little sons of guns but cakes are of the stationary sort. My roommate reported that she saw it on Saturday afternoon. That was the last time that the existence of the cake was noted.
Finally, at 10:30 p.m., I went around telling my friends of the great cake-eating experience they were about to be a part of that night. As I approached the refrigerator, time seemed to stand still and a shudder came over me.
When I opened the door I could not believe my eyes. My giant box of birthday magic had been stolen. I was floored. I mean, I understand taking a vegetable or maybe a bag of chips, but this was a personalized pastry! Maybe if it said “Happy 20th Birthday” I would think it was no big deal, but this was the big 21.
I solemnly walked back to my suite with my head down as I now had to face all my friends who sat there with forks and knives in their hands and birthday hats all around – hey, it could have happened. When I told them of the massacre that had occurred, their smiles were turned upside down. Frankly, it looked like someone had killed 10 puppies right in front of us.
Though every one of my noble male friends has offered to beat up whoever this cake thief might be, this is still not comforting. Now, I understand the Saturday night routine of coming back from a party, slightly intoxicated and maybe under the influence of a certain drug that rhymes with the name Sara Fauna might make one rather hungry. But a birthday cake? Have we come to the point where we need to install cameras in the kitchen so a girl can enjoy a piece of cake? Can a communal fridge still be a place of sanctity?
In a world that has spun out of control in so many ways recently, can’t we control the simple act of respect? I am sure whoever the person was who stole the cake is a good person and perhaps had an acceptable excuse, like they were feeding a bunch of starving orphans who can only eat vanilla birthday cake. Whoever the person was, I hope they enjoyed it and didn’t choke on a piece, it didn’t get stuck in their esophagus, and they weren’t prevented from breathing. Well, that is going too far, but if they coughed for a bit and milk came out of their nose that would be OK.
Lepore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.