Monday, December 05, 2005
To breathe or not to breathe. It's not really ever the question.
Every time we drive to Bellingham to visit Christian's folks, we drive by an alpaca farm in Mount Vernon, and every time I squeal and whine and beg to stop, but we always have a timeline to get to Bellingham and we are inevitably running late due to Christian's incessant pottering and it's too late to stop on the way home as we most likely stayed longer than we planned because Christian had to teach his dad ONE MORE THING in Photoshop.
Well, the day after Thanksgiving, we left Bellingham in the early afternoon to drive home while it was still light out, and since it was only three and I deemed that we had plenty of time to get the fake Christmas tree home and decorate it (because it HAD TO BE DONE that night or Christmas would be ruined), I grovelled wheedled and begged until I got my way, and we stopped at the farm. We hit their lovely little shop with sweaters and blankets knitted out of alpaca wool and I purchased some dreamy yarn with which to make impractical over-the-knee stockings from Handknit Holidays because I don't have enough complex knitting projects started right now, what with the matching sweaters I'm making for my nephews, Christan's Aran sweater and my beaded cardigan that I'M NEVER GOING TO FINISH.
Because when I get really excited I chatter incessantly, I found out from the woman behind the counter that the farm would be opening all of their stores on December 1st and that I should come back and visit and buy more things and see the alpacas in the daytime. Could I pet one? I asked, as I have a weird and passionate yearning to own an alpaca or llama, although more alpaca than llama, but either member of the camel family would do. They make little mumbling noises under their breath and have soft noses. She told me that she had attended a birth of a brand new alpaca baby that morning and she imagined that the owners of the farm would let me pet one if I returned. Pet a baby alpaca. Oh God.
So, on Saturday, we hopped in the car and drove the long hour to Mount Vernon, marvelling at the lingering snow as we got farther north and complaining bitterly that we live in the land of perpetual sogginess. We made it to the farm at about 2:30 and I bought another skein of yarn, partly because I didn't have enough for the stockings with one skein and partly because I wanted to butter the farm owner up to make sure she would let me see the baby alpaca. I made polite conversation as long as I could, and then asked in the voice I reserve only for use when asking special favors if I could PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE pet an alpaca, and the woman whose shrine I shall now build over my TV agreed to take me into the barn to see the new babies. I tried hard to be cool and not run squealing into the yard, flinging myself on the ground in joyous convulsions.
When the kind lady took us into the barn, though, I had to pause. There TWO baby alpacas, one a week old and one a DAY OLD, but they were kept with their mothers in a little enclosed room full of hay. Hay and dander. Oy. Now, I have made many bad decisions in my life pertaining to my health, but pretty much all of them have revolved around staying in places in which animals had shed every hair and bit of dander in the exact spot I was sitting or sleeping, resulting in a grand mal asthma attack requiring weeks of medication and my mother lecturing me about how I needed to be responsible for my own health and blah blah blah. I KNEW that going into that room would have dire consequences, especially as I was just diagnosed with pleurisy, but OH MY GOD, there were TWO BABY ALPACAS!!! How can a potential asthma attack compete with that much cuteness?? SO MUCH CUTENESS HOW DO THEY NOT EXPLODE??
Can you see the eyelashes??? CAN YOU????? I don't think I actually spoke real words for 45 minutes. The little black alpaca really took to us, and wriggled his way between our legs, to the surprise of all, especially the owner's sister in the room with us. He even frolicked. FROLICKED AND SCAMPERED, I TELL YOU! She couldn't believe how affectionate he was with us, and even his mother looked like she only wanted to trample us, rather than rip our heads off with her not-insubstantial teeth.
Who needs to breathe when a baby alpaca loves you? Not I.