I thank God for sweaty, toothless, angry men every damn day.
Every event I have ever hosted for others has gone without a hitch. Beautiful venues, excellent food either catered or potlucked, the special guest felt relaxed and able to communicate with all of their guests in a timely manner, gifts are received and well-documented and thank you cards are assisted with. Decorations never fall flat, nor are they dull. The tone of the evening strikes a chord perfectly with the guest of honor. What can I say? Having a Type-A personality does wonders for event planning and I’m a kick-ass assistant.
History has repeatedly proven to me, time and time again, that my birthday is really not worth the torment of celebrating. EVER.
I promise you, precious readers, that it is not from a lack of enthusiasm, nor fear or adverse reaction to growing older
I don’t have to worry about that. I’m a stickler for sunblock, and Asians age very slowly.
Oh no. This is because each and every time I try to plan a birthday party for myself, it is a complete and utter DISASTER.
Yes, all caps and underlined. You heard me.
Birthdays are supposed to be fun, filled with warm hugs, some delicious sweets, all sprinkled with laughter.
I call Bullshit! (With a capital “B”!)
For example, take my 16th Birthday. My wonderful parents decided to throw me a surprise party. (Despite this post, I thank you for your heroic efforts to try to pull this feat off… just not quite in the way things are supposed to happen.)
Typically, a surprise party is the equivalent to the following steps outlined below.
TYPICAL SURPRISE PARTY:
1. Friends, family and loved ones are notified of the event.
2. Friends, family and loved ones gather in a secret, central place.
3. Birthday Person is taken to said secret, central place.
4. Before BP enters the premises of said event gathering, the lights might be dimmed, or the guests may be hidden, even perhaps some combination of both.
5. Participants then yell “surprise” and practically give BP a coronary.
6. Cake or some dessert-type product is served.
7. All is merry, and BP forgives friends, family and loved ones for practically giving BP a coronary.
MY 16th “Surprise” Birthday Party:
(Note the quotation marks. That’s important.)
1. After a long week at school, working my ass off for my very strong, high B-average, my plan is to sleep late on the Saturday after my birthday.
I think my birthday has actually fallen on a weekend twice in my lifetime. Pilot’s is almost always on a weekend or Friday. Lucky shit.
2. I am promptly woken up at 6:30 am to my mother’s over-cheery voice saying, “We have people coming over. Get up. Happy Birthday.” Why the fuck am I up at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday? I think to myself.
Not a morning person, remember? See “Death to the Early Bird and Hand Me My Fucking Coffee.”
3. Sleepily working my way up the stairs, I realize our friends Flower* and her six-year-old daughter, Petal* are in the kitchen making all types of bite-sized appetizers.
*Names have been changed for privacy
4. “What’s going on?” I ask, skeptically. “Who’s coming over?”
5. Sneak a glance at our living room and realize furniture has been rearranged and several chairs have been placed.
“Come help us make the food,” my mother replies. “Your surprise party starts in less than two hours.”
“What party?!” I ask as a headache begins working its way through my head.
“Your surprise birthday party. Surprise!” she says pointedly at me.
Right. Because I should have known that. Naturally.
6. Politely as possible while annoyed beyond recognition, I respond with, “Aren’t surprise parties supposed to work like [enter the steps for a Typical Surprise Party here] and I’m not supposed to know about it? Isn’t that the surprise?”
“You don’t know who’s coming! That’s the surprise! Now come on, these sandwich rolls don’t roll themselves!”
7. Stunned, I did what any rational person who had less than four hours’ sleep does. I proceed to help make appetizers for my own surprise birthday party.
I know, right?
8. Creating mounds of food is completed.
9. I shower and dress as quickly as possible, since “People will be arriving at eight,” my mother informs me.
10. Between the hours of 8:15 am-12:30 pm, I proceed to answer the door each time someone knocks and serving them food while my parents mingle with the guests, playing hostess for my own surprise party.
21 Run? I think I busted.
Blackjack, anyone? Get it?
21st Birthdays. Ahh! The final, transitional birthday from adolescent to adult. Typically this can go one of two ways: Either alcohol is completely avoided and some other rite of passage is completed for the BP to feel they are recognized as a legal non-youth.
You’re taken on a drinking rampage and get completely blitzed off your ass. Requesting the following morning for people to refresh your memory of the celebratory events. Or worse, you’re shown the cell phone pictures posted onto “MyFace” or some other online profile system. (Or even worse still: two days after. This is dependent on the level of blitzed-off-your-ass-ness you had reached.)
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never been drunk.
I know. You’re raising your eyebrows. Most people do.
Because I have a September birthday, I had a tendency to be the youngest person in class. By high school, I was the second-youngest, beat out by a fellow classmate whose birthday, I think, was a week after mine.
Starting college, barely 18-years-old, (I think I had been 18 for about six days), most of my classmates were already getting drunk off of their gourd and partying until the cows came home.
Come to think of it… It was Ellensburg. It could easily have been until the cows were tipped over.
By the time my 21st birthday rolled around, I was already a Junior in college and most of my friends who did drink were done with their partying ways. Even if I had wanted to go through the rite of passage of the “21 Run,” (which I didn’t), none of my friends were into it anymore.
I think I spent my 21st birthday studying and having a somewhat-fancy dinner with Pilot.
At least as fancy as a college student can have, which typically equates to “not ramen.”
Then, having a second, family dinner where I very uncomfortably asked for a glass of wine in front of my parents.
I no longer have an issue asking for adult beverages in front of my mother, but that’s neither here nor there.
And now, today.
My birthday was Sept. 18th (again, on a weekday). With the recent heat wave Seattle has been “suffering” from, I figured why not try giving myself a party again? What’s the harm?
Several weeks prior, I decided to have a potluck party at a local park with frisbee golf. Simple, easy parking, plenty of food and a fun activity that is so goofy no one has to feel inadequate. Friday night, I’m driving home and it’s raining. The weatherman informs me that thunder showers are expected, including lightning strikes.
I had to be so fucking confident. For crying out loud, why do I open my big mouth? I had to be born in Fall: The most twitchy bitch season in the Pacific Northwest.
People, I beg you. You need to stop breeding on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. You hear that New Year’s baby and Cupid? I blame you! <shakes fist.>
It must have something to do with holidays represented by babies who aren’t Jesus.
It just has to be!
Waking up this Saturday morning at 9:30am (still early for a Saturday, but this was chosen. Not forced.) Still pouring rain outside. Not wanting to drudge through the muddy fields and have rain-soaked guests and rain-soaked-food (or anyone being killed by lightning-struck-frisbee), I postponed to the next day.
It wasn’t even 30 minutes before I received the first phone call.
Friend: Um… You did know it’s my bridal shower tomorrow?
Me: What are you talking about?
Friend: Yeah, tomorrow at noon.
Me: What are you talking about?
Friend: Didn’t you get the invitation in the mail?
Me: Hold on. <covers phone with hand and yells across apartment to Pilot.> Pilot? Did you get the mail? There should be an invite to [Friend]’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. Did you see one? Or both?
Pilot: What are you talking about?
If you hadn’t deduced from the above conversation, a friend of mine is getting married in October. Apparently my invitations to the Bridal Shower (Sunday, Sept. 23rd) was lost in the mail, as was my invitation to her upcoming Bachelorette Party.
Me: Ohmigosh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Here. I’ll move the party to next week instead.
<Moves party to Sept. 29th.>
Friend: Great! Thanks.
Not even 10 minutes after this second attempt to move the party: I receive two new phone calls and four new text messages from other guests, which all accumulate to the following message:
[Such and Such Date] isn’t good for me. Could it be [Such and Such Date] instead?
I am most certain that for people to bother to take my birthday somewhat-seriously as an event to try to celebrate-
Note, the word “try.” Just the effort is appreciated. Really. That’s all I’m looking for.
-and actually attempt to make it look somewhat like a typical birthday party comprising of good humor, merriment and some kind of birthday pie/cheesecake (I’m not the world’s biggest cake and frosting fan), it requires the following:
List of Events That Must Transpire Before Any Gathering May Take Place:
1. Obtain Indiana Jones,
2. Obtain divine intervention from Jesus,
3. Obtain your own personal cartographer,
4. Find reports of an exploding star in the Milky Way Galaxy, and
5. Record the sound of a butterfly farting from the deepest, darkest recesses of the tropical rainforest [or enter your favorite Chaos Theory metaphor here].
However, based on my history, combined with the fact that I only have a couple of the items within my possession from the list mentioned above, I figured the ultimate solution.
Aw, screw it.
I pinch the bridge of my nose and move to the next step: By 10:00am Saturday morning, I canceled that fucking party as fast as my fingers could type.
Now, this may seem like an overreaction. It probably is. As a matter of fact, I’m sure it is. One thing, to know about me, is I HATE trying to make plans with more than one person at a time. Obtaining world peace is a fucking cakewalk compared to aligning the schedules of my family and friends. (See “List of Events That Must Transpire Before Any Gathering May Take Place,” above) Especially when the subject matter is about my birthday, holidays or major life events.
All in all, it wasn’t a complete loss. Here is where Pilot truly is my hero:
He bought tickets to the Season Opener Game of our favorite hockey team, where I returned my mind and spirit to a zen-like state by acting within a perfectly ladylike manner of sharing profanities at the opposing team and clearly explaining how various forms of anatomically incorrect actions would be enforced upon the referees who were monitoring the sportsmanlike conduct of the players.
Unfortunately his efforts also contributed to my annual curse of another year slowly crushing my faith in celebrating birthdays: our team lost 6-0. The opposing team has been the worst team 4-years running. And they beat us 6-0.
Any suggestions on trying to break the trend? Because I would love some.
Daily Writing Challenge
Day 21: FREE DAY! Write any scene you want!
“Though each birthday may be a buoy in the sea of life, each of my buoys is littered with barnacles and seagull shit.” – Katherine Bacher