Many, many years ago, Gentle Reader, I had my very first run-in with the law. You see, in the hamlet of Purdy, Washington, where I went to high school, there is a historic bridge, crossing over to a clear, rocky beach known as the “Sand Spit” or the “Purdy Spit. There was a convenient hollow underneath the bridge that was suitable for bonfires, another full of broken glass that we called the “fucking hole” – because that was what it was clearly for – and it was a popular activity to scrawl random graffiti and drawings on the bridge’s side.
The towers, that you can see there? They are also a popular hangout/graffiti location. However, the best part of the entire place was, of course, the abandoned post office at the far end of the spit. It’s about a fourty-five minute walk from the end of the bridge to where the post office used was*, but it was worth it. It had been built one hundred years ago, was tiny, quaint, and boarded up. How could any self-respecting teenage explorers leave it alone?
It came to pass that our little clique – besotted with bohemian ways, bright, colorful, and entirely odd – needed our own little atelier. Thus it was that we named the building Calliope, after the muse, and brought fabric, beads, and feathers with us, to decorate the interior with. All day, our new project was all we could concentrate on; schoolwork took a backseat. This, after all, was important!
After posing for some photographs, our intrepid expedition set out.
After making the hike to what we intended to be our salon, we crawled underneath the building, amongst the pilings. That was where the only actual entrance into the building was – the door had been boarded up. We handed up our supplies – including a boombox, with which to play inspiring music. That may have been a mistake.
You see, a gaggle of conspicuously fabulous teenagers is, in fact, conspicuous. When they are carrying sparkly draperies, they are doubly so. When they are carrying sparkly draperies and playing the soundtrack from Moulin Rouge – and singing along – the police get called.
Being underage and not having a valid id on you is enough to let you off with a warning, as it turns out, which is very lucky. No one wants to hear that your criminal record begins with being arrested for too much fabulousness.
*It has since been torn down, despite a campaign to register it as a historical building. More information on the building can be found here. Despite the campaign, apparently no photos of it appear anywhere on the internet, except one sad little sketch, presented here for your pleasure.