It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t a left you. Without a dope post to read to. Read to, read to, read- Eh, it doesn’t really work, but I tried.
Lots of crap has been going on. So much so that it has prevented me from thanking and responding to the handful of new folks who’ve left comments or ‘liked’ past stuff (Thank you so much! I love you!) or writing more than one cuss-filled post during the month of September. I thought I’d start out this post by sharing a list pertaining to the lots of crap in an effort to maybe make you, my dear 6 and 3/4 readers, laugh; feel better about your own life by comparison; and reassure you that this blog and
unfortunately I are still alive.
- After six years filled of wonder and amazement, I moved out of my apartment. The plan was for me to move into the home of my beloved dead grandpa; – For mental health and self-esteem reasons I’m supposed to be calling it my home. That ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. – that plan is on an indefinite hiatus, mostly because it appears as though someone set off a bomb in his two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo. A bomb that both destroyed everything and opened a portal to 1975.
- I have been living out of one suitcase in the home of my parents who have recently retired. I sleep in my childhood bedroom that has become the storage space for the stuff my parents don’t want and/or don’t know what to do with (How fitting!) on an air mattress which I managed to pop just this morning (FINALLY!). I have come to the awful conclusion that I might kinda hate my mall-walking, liquid-vitamin-taking, Dr. Oz-worshiping mother and father. Just a little bit.
- I am still single.
Anyway. In two days I am going to be 33 years old. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but like most things, I hate my motherfucking birthday. I especially hate all birthdays after the twentieth, because that’s when the expectations attached to age begin. So not only will someone probably die (my 28th, 29th, and 30th birthdays), break up with me (my 26th), give me the swine flu (my 30th), or lock themselves in my car and refuse to participate in the festivities (my 23rd) on my “special day”, you expect me to have accomplished shit too? Oh, here go hell come.
Birthdays have always been just an overflowing bag of sad for me for as long as I can remember. As a kid, birthday parties were contingent upon whether or not I had been “good”. Ma and Pa Jones would typically do the “Do you think you deserve to have a birthday party, Ambrosia?” thing with me and being a highly intelligent and precocious child, I knew that the answer was ‘no’. I mean, if ya have to ask, amiright? It seemed that Ma Jones loved to say the following, as I heard some variation of it each year: “And you think you’re having a birthday party? You? Ha! Little girls who have birthday parties do not roll their eyes at their mothers!” It was all I could do not to demand empirical evidence from her. “What are you basing this data on? Show me the numbers!”
I’m not anybody’s mother, so I don’t know if birthday parties ought to be doled out sparingly or not. Maybe my parents were doing what most parents do. But to a girl who’s an only child, lives in a child-free neighborhood, doesn’t really fit in with the kids at church, doesn’t get to socialize all that much with her school friends, and experiences a nagging sense of unshakable loneliness that follows her throughout her entire life, the birthday party rations really sucked. It was my one chance out of the year to be the center of attention, to demand things (whether or not those demands were fulfilled is another thing entirely), and be surrounded by friends. To have that be dependent on whether or not I’d been a model child was way harsh, considering that, at least in my parents’ eyes, I never quite measured up.
Don’t even get me started on expectations and birthday parties. Good god, how I loathe expectations. And yet, I am full of them. I was quick to write that I blame my life-long love of books, movies, and television for the ridiculous expectations swirling around in my head when I hear the words “birthday”, “Christmas”, “New Year’s Eve”, “wedding”, and “drag ball”, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve witnessed enough magical loveliness in real life happen to people I know that I am comfortable blaming them. The parties my friends and acquaintances have for their children leave me itching to call 9-1-1 to turn in my parents on a 25 year-old charge of neglect. Every kid in the class gets to come! Brand-name goodie bags! Elaborate themes! PG-13 movies! Designer clothes and shoes! Cake with a picture of your face on it!
A girl I knew rented out part of a nightclub to celebrate her 24th birthday. That’s not even a milestone age or anything. It was sort of supposed to be a joint party for me and some other October babies too, but I only told one friend about it because it was in Manhattan and I knew no one else would come. She had signature drinks, and embossed invitations, and her own waiter, and color-coordinated decorations that matched her outfit and makeup and the drinks and invitations. It was super fun, i.e., I got really drunk. I think I totaled my car on my 24th birthday (Not that same night, or year, even. Drunk driving is lame.). Not quite as fun.
Thing is, I don’t even want my own waiter or a cake with my face on it. Designer clothes and shoes would only be ruined in my grubby little accident-prone hands. “Signature drinks” is a stupid concept that I fall for every time I see them on a menu or watch “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera”. You know what kind of party I really like? Remember that one scene in “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character has people over and Archie Bunker’s wife plays the piano and they sing and laugh and drink wine and everyone’s wearing a sweater and Greg Kinnear is tone deaf? I love that. The only things that party is missing is candlelight, dancing, more food and booze, The Gays, and me.
Don’t get me wrong, someday I want to blow a couple hundred bucks on a night out at Lucky Cheng’s and maybe have a closed-mouth make-out session on a dance floor with a handsome stranger (It’s a cultural thing, and blech!). But I don’t need any of that to have a nice birthday party – if I were still celebrating my birthday. I have vowed to never again attempt to have a party or make any birthday demands (I did tell Lisa she could make me her chicken casserole and bake a lemon cake, but she asked first.) or even mention the dreaded day after last year’s debacle. I haven’t mentioned last year’s debacle in great detail here other than explaining that it is from hence this blog’s name was birthed. Since The Day of Dread is less than 48 hours away, I’ll tell that story now by revising what I wrote and shared on that social networking site.
Actually, upon proofreading said post, I’ve decided to share it in its (hardly) unedited entirety. A quick re-read after a year made me do it:
I told ya so! I told ya something bad was gonna happen on my birthday!
I do hate to gloat, truly I do, but I want people to understand that I’m not a sad sack of misery just because. I’ve got history on my side! Like my Jane has started to say, I’m looking at the facts!
Okay, if I’m going to look at ALL the facts, I ended up having a lot of fun with some truly wonderful friends. But you didn’t come here to read about fun and wonderfulness.
What had happened was this: In order to forget about the fact that I was turning another year older, I wanted to eat some food, go dancing and drink some drinks. Last year, this was a bit of an issue, so I tried to keep things chill. I figured if people wanted to come, they’d come. If they wanted to eat, they’d eat. If they wanted to dance- you get my drift. I live in a city that I wouldn’t choose to hang out in, so I picked another as the destination because they have more than one of things and classier people and more interesting violence and danger. What? They do!
So I make reservations for the night before my actual birthday. A group of relatives from out of town and their friends essentially invited themselves (this is key) to the gathering as an act of solidarity as they were aware of the History of Bad Birthdays, which I initially appreciated. A group of friends offered to drive me that night so I could be free to indulge in spirits if I chose. The group of friends was coming from another gathering that evening and the plan was for them to pick me up at 8:00 so we could make the 8:45 reservation. Unfortunately, stuff happened, and they didn’t make it to get me until 8:30. As soon as I learned that my ride was running late (8:05), I sent word to my relatives and friends already on their way to the restaurant. Additional stuff happened – none of which involved me being late; bitches, I was dressed and ready to go for 8:00pm for once! – and our caravan didn’t hit the road till 8:45.
Yes, this was unfortunate. But it was a Saturday night. The group that was already there was “having fun”, or so I was told. I assumed they’d have some drinks and order some appetizers and chill. It was a birthday party, not a business meeting. And I stayed in contact with them every step of the way, apologizing profusely.
We make it to the other city and it’s after 9:00pm. We park in the first lot we find – which ended up being 6 blocks away from the restaurant. The seven of us make our way down the street and I’m texting those already there – “We’re 4 blocks away! I’m sorry!” “We’re 3 blocks away! I’m SO sorry!” As we pass the Public Library, which is relevant because that meant we were about halfway there, I get a text from my cousin who I didn’t even expect to show up. Not only did I not expect her, I had been instructed to keep her presence a secret, which is a topic for another note that I’m not going to write because that mess is none of my business.
Anyhoo, the secret cousin I didn’t expect had an early morning event the following day, my actual birthday, and that was one of the not torrid reasons that I didn’t expect her. So, I think nothing of the fact that the first text I received from her read:
“This is so poorly planned.”
Yeah, I suppose it was. They had been waiting about an hour. I get that that can be annoying. Buuuuuuuuutttttt, they weren’t waiting at a bus stop. They were waiting in an awesome Japanese restaurant, with people they knew and supposedly like/love and it was my f’ing party; I’ll show up when I want to. (I don’t really mean that last bit.) As I am about to respond with a sincere mea culpa, my cousin whom I DIDN’T EXPECT TO SHOW UP AND TECHNICALLY WASN’T INVITED sent me a second text:
“I can see why she’s single.”
OOOOOOHHHHHHH. So those texts weren’t meant for me after all. Home girl hit my Achilles heel with that one. The only other thing she could have written that would have been as devastatingly hurtful would have been “I can see why she’s fat.” And shut up, I am fat, and the sooner we all acknowledge that fact the faster we can move on.
I closed my phone, put it in the pocket of my jacket and kept walking. I could feel the tears start to well up, my heart was alternately stopping and pounding out of control and I didn’t know what to do. We finally make it to the restaurant and I’m sure the look on my face was not a pleasant one. If anyone noticed, they probably chalked it up to the fact that I had walked 6 blocks in 3 inch heels and was an hour late to my own birthday party.
Both the restaurant and the folks who had already arrived failed to save/ provide enough seating for the entire group, so a lot of awkward standing around commenced as we waited for extra chairs. I was shaking and my face was on fire. I had just learned that my cousin was talking shit about me and I assumed she had realized her mistake by then, too. If she did, she said nothing. We finally sit down and I knew that if I said nothing, that text and the venom behind it was going to eat me up and ruin an already screwed up night. So, I lifted up my menu and whispered what had transpired to my friend Dick on my right, begging him to keep it to himself, and then promptly excused myself. I felt better already that someone else knew about what happened. I went to the ladies room and Jane followed me in in outrage. Dick is her husband and told her that I was probably in tears because of the text I wasn’t supposed to see.
I was actually kind of fine! No tears, just pee pee, and I assured Jane that I was cool. No need to confront my cousin and her wig (I’m sorry! I’m entitled to one dig, right?); let’s just eat, drink and be merry.
The night continued and yeah, dinner was kind of awkward, but sake solved that, mostly. The out of town crew went home right after dinner because of the texting terror’s early morning thing, and I had a ball with my actual friends who make sure that the nasty texts they write about me make it to their intended recipients. Ha.
I’m gonna skim over a lot of stuff now because I’m SUPER lazy, but the morning of my actual birthday involved me crying hysterically over the text. Hey, I didn’t let it ruin my night, which for me is a REALLY BIG DEAL, but I needed to grieve over it. That shit hurt! I eventually and very gently, and according to my friend, with class, let my cousin know that I got the texts and assumed they weren’t meant for me and hoped that she enjoyed her charity walk. She wrote back and didn’t acknowledge the texts, but asked me how my night was. It took me hours to gather the courage and nerve to answer, but when I finally did, I said this:
“you know, despite those texts you sent me, i had a really great time with my friends. thanks for asking!”
She called, I wouldn’t answer, got yelled at out of love by Jane and Dick, who had taken me out for birthday pancakes, cried some more, and eventually spoke to my cousin about the Birthday Debacle. On my actual birthday, mind you. And here, in helpful bullet point form, is what she said:
- She don’t like waitin’.
- People need to respect her time.
- She’s very punctual and expects others to be the same.
- I should have had a plan B and C.
- I should have left my friends and driven myself to the restaurant so that she didn’t have to wait so long.
- She was mad that the restaurant “kicked us out” at 11:30pm because she wanted to take pictures.
- She didn’t get a chance to go out afterwards because I was late.
- Oh, and yeah, poor planning can in fact lead to chronic singleness.
If you are observant, you may have noticed that her ass never once uttered the following :
“I’m sorry” or even, “Happy Birthday”.
And in case it matters, my cousin is also single. She’s in the midst of a nasty divorce, actually, and lives back at home with her mother and shares a room with one of her two children. So much for planning and punctuality! But that’s mean of me to say. I guess.
I didn’t respond to anything she said, other than mentioning that I was hurt by the text, particularly the second one. After she was finished, I told her I was hanging up and that I’d talk to her some other time. When I was alone that night, I cried some more.
So, that’s it. That was this year’s birthday fail. However, I did have oodles of fun and my friends are super loyal and protective and awesome and really, really mean! And I love it!
But, yet again, that swift kick to the balls really hurt. I may not be able to trust my cousin(s). People – my family members! – seem to be ready, willing and able to take a switchblade to my Achilles without warning. And I’m another year past 30 and still really, really, REALLY single (and fat).
I may have found an interesting name and concept for a blog, though. Maybe stay tuned for icanseewhyshessingle.com, hmmmmmmm? (DO NOT STEAL.)
Gosh. Wasn’t I precious? I sounded so different way back then. I was a mere girl, a child really, just turned 32 and all. That’s what happened and yay, I started a blog and took what was meant for evil and used it for good – shout out to Old Testament Joseph – though the “good” part is questionable. But here’s the thing. I said I had a good time. Whenever I’ve answered the question of “What do you wanna do for your birthday?” with “I don’t do those anymore ’cause of last year” and the person I’m talking to was there, they say “Oh, but you had fun!” I didn’t. I did not have fun. I’m sorry.
What I had was a pretend fun time due to the influence of alcohol. I drank a great deal out of nervousness, worried I’d cry or yell or snatch a wig if I didn’t drown my emotions in booze. Four really lovely friends hung out with me all night. We went to two – TWO! – nightclubs and then to a sketchy diner. They did that for me and I’m grateful. But I didn’t have fun.
I don’t have an inner voice that I can shut up with liquor. That bitch went on and on AND ON all night about how awful I am and how my mean cousin was right. I kept giving her bootleg Dark and Stormies (Why doesn’t any bar stock ginger beer?!?) in the hopes that if she insisted on talking, maybe she’d start to be nice the more I drank. When I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror and saw that the belt to my dress was hanging on by a figurative thread, she let me have it. My cousin’s text had given her ammunition, not that she ever really needs it: “See? She was right. Look at you. So FAT. No one will dance with you, you know. Your friends are pitying you because you are pitiful.”
I went back out there and smiled and drank and laughed and danced. She – my inner voice – was right. No one danced with me. I mean, Eric and Dick took turns dancing with me a little, but that’s not the same. I was the fifth wheel at my own birthday party, grinning madly as I danced with my lovely friends who also happen to be two couples.
I don’t make birthday
demands wishes any more. Just let me get through the day and come out unscathed. I’ll cry, I’m sure. I’ve cried every year since probably 4th grade. This year the day will be supremely awkward as I am living staying with my parents who prove each day how little they know about their only child. That might be my fault seeing as how I just grunt and growl in their direction, but I believe, perhaps wrongly, that the people who love you shouldn’t have to be told who you are. They ought to be watching. They ought to already know.
Despite everything, my attitude about my birthday this year is an improvement. There were years I had no intention of seeing, but I guess I got distracted by something, as here I am. The only goal I’ve got for this year is to outlive Jesus. Dude made it to 33; if I can make it to 34 I will have beaten a supreme being at something, even if I’m still living with my parents, fat, at a job where everyone hates me, and of course, single when I do it.