Wednesday, September 21, 2011

518. When It's Your Birthday

You want to walk around and have people automagically KNOW, not have to ask or guess, but just somehow know that today is your birthday. How would the clerk at 7-11 who has never seen you before in his life know that it’s your birthday? Who cares—the point is, he should just psychically know (oh, wait, he could look at the date on your driver’s license when he cards you for buying alcohol—getting carded is a compliment because it implies that you look younger than 21, and really wouldn’t you be completely happy with even 31 right now? You know, Baskin-Robbins is happy with 31. The month of March is happy with 31. Thirty-one would be a remarkable score on 9-holes of golf, but a fairly awful score for bowling. Thirty-one is considered a nice number in the game of age.). But no one seems to know it’s your birthday, if fact, they seem to be taking great pains to NOT know.

Today is my birthday! you want to scream selfishly and narcissistically, it’s not like you expect everyone to break into song or do back handsprings or noisily tap-dance, just a small, Oh, good for you, wow, I didn’t know, happy birthday! would suffice.

You go to your older son’s school and volunteer, just as you have every single Wednesday since last week. The office people know you by now, and they have only gotten your name wrong twice, okay, well, three times but probably that was because you mumble.

So you help them in the office with some projects like sorting mail, all the time humming a little song under your breath, a little song that sounds suspiciously like “Happy Birthday.” No one notices. You curse yourself for not wearing some sort of goofy party hat that screams BIRTHDAY GIRL ROCKS but you were afraid that it might not be taken literally (the one time you want something to be taken literally) and that everyone would think you were being ironic or something, making fun of society’s fascination/ obsession with age and youth and beauty, etcetera, or advertising some sort of new unknown British band but really you just want someone to say


which is what your voice mail says when you check it later, your mom called first thing and apparently you missed the call.

You get home from an exhausting hour of volunteering and mail-sorting to be greeted by your own mail, which includes (excitingly) two rather large boxes that look strangely like birthday packages. They are from two friends (yay—this means you have at least, bare minimum, two friends!) and you debate whether you should open them now by yourself or wait until your family comes home. Now/ later/ now/ later/ now/ later. Instant gratification now is winning out, but later is guilt-free. NOWlater NOWlater. Your older son gets home from school, and you decide that is a little bit later than now, but not quite as later as LATER later, but oh well. It is your day, so you get to decide.

You open the packages while your older son helps by popping the bubble paper loudly, and the boxes are full of fabulous things you love, like chocolate, and you are basking in the fabulousness that is having a birthday. Even if random strangers that you haven’t ever mentioned it to DON’T REALIZE that it’s your birthday, you can lovingly forgive them.

Cards have arrived in the mail. Cards with fancy pictures of cakes and candles, cards with money inside (thanks, Mom) and cards with gift-cards taped securely in place.

When you went to work at the high-end kitchen store last night, your boss gave you a gift. You were not expecting it at all, you sort of just froze and looked at her and did not understand why she was handing you a box with a neatly-tied ribbon. She said, “I know your birthday is actually tomorrow, but Happy Birthday!” and you smiled and said, “Birthday?” weakly, like you did not know what the word meant, like she had said, I need you to get several carts and break down all the props from the window displays because our Displays-Visual Manager is on vacation and so you will need to do it all, you have 20 minutes, good luck! But that is not what she said. She said “Happy Birthday.”

Lots of people have remembered your birthday.

It is a good day so far, and it’s only 3 o’clock.



  1. There is no non-awkward way to bring up the fact that it's your birthday.

    Except on a blog, of course.

    Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday MOV - may it be all you hope for, and then some. ;-)

  3. Happy Birthday MOV, on your blog you decide how old you are!
    I had seen your 'happy birthday to me' line but was afraid to mention it.
    Stupid of me.

    Forever young,

  4. Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to You. Enjoy your day!

  5. Wait... is it your birthday? :)
    Happy birthday MOV!

  6. Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear Mov-ee, Happy Birthday To You(uuuuuuuuu).

    Your Obstinate Pal,

  7. rockygrace, thank you!

    patty, thank you!

    Véronique, thank you! (and why are people laughing when I say I am 21? hmmm? is this some sort of joke?)

    Anonymous, I like the song! thank you!

    Haley Wolfe, thank you!

    Motaki, thank you!

    very best from your cyber-pal,

  8. 21 is the very best age - old enough to drink and young enough to enjoy it. Happy birthday!!

  9. Happy birthday to you! I've been a long time reader and this is the first time I've decided to comment.

    Why? I'd like to say it's because I had the sudden burning desire to wish a random stranger 'happy birthday' but that's not it. I just find it an extreme coincidence that your birthday is the same as my guide dog's - he just turned 3 years old today!

    (Yes - I am blind and I read your blog - a first for you perhaps?)

    So happy birthday to you - you have the same birthday as a very smart dog. ;)

  10. For next year, I highly suggest tying a bunch of helium balloons to your belt to advertise the anniversary of your birth. It's just flashy enough to give folks the hint, and if you curl the ribbons it has the appropriate level of whimsy.

    Happy Birthday MOV! I hope the rest of it is excellent.

  11. Well you can do what the ladies at the assembly plants, also a city council person, in Detroit do. They wear a tiara to work. And people pin money on their shirt. You have to bring your own pins and I think they salt the shirt kinda like the tip jar people.

    Happy Birthday!

  12. Gasp! Happy Birthday MOV! Hope you had an amazing day. :) Loving the labels for this entry: "not too late to call me." Hee hee!

  13. Le'Ann, thank you!

    Livdera, thank you! And Happy Birthday to your beautiful smart guide dog. (Did he guide you to my blog in the first place? if so, I need to add him to my payroll.) I am flattered and humbled that you are a long-time reader and that you read my blog and that you find a way to do so when you are blind. Thank you thank you. And yes, that is a first that I know of.

    bluespeckledpup, I had not thought of the balloons tied to my person. This is exactly why birthdays are celebrated best as a collaborative effort. Thank you for the excellent idea for next year!

    Nola, I wish I would have thought of the tiara in time. And the money shirt is a nice touch, better than the chocolate shirt I tried last year. It just got ... melty.

    Teri, thank you!

    thanks to all, you make me feel all sparkley and glittery!


  14. I'd like to be the first to wish you a belated Happy Birthday!

  15. thank you, Janet! and if memory serves (which it often doesn't, but I digress), you are a card-carrying Virgo too......... so Happy Belated Birthday to you as well!



When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)